February 12, 2015 / 9:54 AM / in 3 years

First oil tanker docks at Libya's Hariga since strike, storm

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - An oil tanker has docked at Libya’s port of Hariga for the first time since security guards ended a strike this week and a storm passed, a port official said on Thursday.

Authorities managed earlier this week to persuade security guards to end a strike over delayed salary payments, keeping Libya’s only functional onshore oil export port open. A storm then further delayed the terminal’s reopening.

Greek-registered Minerva Zoe, which had been waiting to dock for a week, would start loading 725,000 barrels of oil soon, the official said, asking not to be identified. The tanker was bound for Italy.

Another tanker importing 25,000 tonnes to Libya had also arrived, he said. Apart from being the last operating onshore export port, Hariga located in the eastern city of Tobruk has also become the main eastern port to import fuel. Benghazi’s commercial port has been closed for months due to fighting between pro-government forces and Islamist groups.

Hariga tends to export around 120,000 barrels per day (bpd).

Only Brega port is still open but it is used to supply the 120,000 bpd Zawiya refinery with crude. All other ports and most oilfields have shut down due to fighting nearby or pipeline blockages by rival factions.

Libya is in the middle of a power struggle between two competing governments and parliaments. The internationally- recognized government of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni fled to the east when a faction called Libya Dawn seized Tripoli in August, reinstating the old parliament and setting up a rival administration.

Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli, Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Jason Neely and Mark Potter

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