TRIPOLI – One of the most important oil ports in Libya on Saturday opened again after it had been under attack from an Islamist militia earlier in the month.
Sidra, normally held by the United Nations-backed government of Marshal Khalifa Haftar, had on March 3 been attacked by the Benghazi Defense Brigades.
It took Haftar’s forces nearly 12 days of clashes to repel the attack and take back full control over the port.
The “Demetrius,” a Greece-flagged ship, arrived at the port on Saturday and loaded some 630,000 barrels of oil that are to be transported to China, according to a Libyan official.
The Libyan National Oil Corporation announced a few days ago that both Sidra and the neighboring port of Ras Lanuf had regained their pre-assault production capacity of nearly 700,000 barrels a day.
However, their capacity is still 50 percent lower than the amount of barrels that had been produced by Libya before the revolution, which toppled former president Muammar al-Gaddafi in 2011.
Since then, Libya has been a scene of chaos and civil war, as three governments in the east, west and south of the country vie for power and control over the oil supply, aided by several dozen militias.
The situation has been exploited by mafias trafficking weapons, drugs, oil and even people.