Second tanker finishes loading oil at Libya’s biggest export port

Oil exports rose during the past few weeks as major Libyan ports restarted operations

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A second tanker finished loading oil at Libya's eastern Es Sider port, state-run National Oil Corp (NOC) said on Saturday, as exports from the country's biggest crude export terminal picked up after being closed for a year.

The OPEC member's oil exports have risen in the past few weeks as major ports in the east have restarted operations following a deal in early July with a group of federalist rebels.

A second tanker bound for Italy finished loading oil at Es Sider and sailed off late on Friday, NOC spokesman Mohamed El Harari said. A first tanker left on Thursday.

Exports are resuming after technical problems and mistrust between the government and the rebels, who were campaigning for regional autonomy, delayed implementation of the port deal for weeks.

Oil production has risen to 612,000 barrels per day (bpd), NOC said on Thursday. This is well above lows of barely 100,000 bpd seen earlier this year but still short of levels of about 1.4 million bpd a year ago.

The North African country badly needs higher exports to cover its budget needs as oil is the only source of income.

The restart of Es Sider comes at a time when clashes between rival groups who helped oust Muammar Qaddafi in 2011 have escalated in the capital Tripoli in the past few weeks.

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