Wednesday, March 22

Libya’s NOC says weather halts oil exports

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TRIPOLI — Libya’s National Oil Company (NOC) is temporarily halting exports from four ports due to bad weather, it said on Thursday, and rejected an oil ministry accusation it was acting against national security.

The country’s oil output has been cut off repeatedly during periods of political crisis over the past decade and the shutdown on Thursday comes amid a dispute over control of the state.

NOC said it was closing Brega, Zueitina, Ras Lanuf and Es Sider. It said in an earlier statement it was also closing Zawiya and Melita terminals.

The oil ministry of the Tripoli-based Government of National Unity issued a statement saying weather conditions were not bad enough to warrant port closures and accusing NOC of “tampering with the capabilities of the Libyan people”.

NOC responded that the waves at the ports made it impossible to safely berth and load tankers.

(Reporting by Lina Najem, Angus McDowall and Ayman al-Warfali Editing by David Goodman, Alison Williams and Jane Merriman)