January 2, 2015 / 10:29 AM / 3 years ago

Libya extinguishes fire at biggest oil terminal: officials

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - Libya has extinguished a fire at oil storage tanks at the country’s biggest oil port, Es Sider, that had been raging for a week, officials said on Friday.

Black smoke billows out of a storage oil tank at the port of Es Sider in Ras Lanuf December 28, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

Es Sider and its adjacent Ras Lanuf terminal have been closed since a group allied to a rival government in Tripoli moved three weeks ago to try and take them, part of a struggle between former rebels who helped topple Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 but are now fighting for power and a share of oil reserves.

A week ago, a rocket hit Es Sider’s storage area, setting it on fire.

Al-Mabrook al-Buseif, the top oil official of the recognized government, said the fires had been extinguished. He had on Tuesday said the fire had destroyed two tanks and up to 1.8 million barrels of crude.

“I thank the firefighters of National Oil Corp,” he said.

Ali al-Hassi, a military spokesman for oil guards at Es Sider, said there would be a news conference to give more details.

The battle for control of the oil ports is part of a wider struggle in the North African country, which has had two governments since a group called Libya Dawn seized the capital in August. The internationally recognized premier, Abdullah al-Thinni, operates out of the east with the elected House of Representatives.

The fighting has reduced Libya’s crude output to around 380,000 barrels a day, state-run National Oil Corp (NOC) has said.

Es Sider is fed from fields run by Waha Oil Co, a joint-venture between Libya’s National Oil Corp with U.S. companies Hess, Marathon and ConocoPhillips.

Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli; Writing Ulf Laessing; Editing by Michael Urquhart

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