12 September 2011, Sweetcrude, Tripoli- Fifteen guards at a Libyan oil refinery have been killed and two others injured after forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi attacked the facility.
The attack occurred overnight at the gate of the Ras Lanuf Factory for Production of Oil and Gas, located 20 km outside the coastal town of Ras Lanuf early on Monday.
The refinery was not fully operational at the time, but around 60 staff were there at the time of the attack, a Reuters report said, citing comments by the injured guards.
Separately, Libyan oil firm the Arabian Gulf Oil Company (Agoco) said on Monday it has restarted production at the eastern oilfield of Sarir.
The development is being seen as an early sign the industry is coming back to life after six months of war, Reuters said.
“We now in Sarir have 70 wells in production”, said Agoco spokesman Abdeljalil Mayuf.
Mayuf said the company is planning to restart the refinery of Sarir, and that the first crude oil will be sent to the Tobruk export terminal on Tuesday. Current output is 50,000 barrels per day.
The news comes a day after Libyan interim prime minister Mahmoud Jibril, announced the country had resumed p[roducing oil, without specifying where but also vowing more facilities would come back online in the “near future.”
Oil production has dried up in Libya during the six-month civil war. The country holds Africa’s largest crude oil reserves, and previously sold about 85% of its exports to Europe.
Western oil companies including Italy’s Eni and Austria’s OMV are eager to get their production back online after the war cut off supplies. However, foreign oil companies have yet to send staff to Libya in large numbers due largely to concerns about security.
Libya’s interim oil and finance minister Ali Tarhouni has said he expects production to return to pre-war levels within a year, but said no new contracts could be agreed until the country is liberated and a new government is elected.
The conditions for this are unclear but are likely to depend on the seizure of disputed towns such as Sirte, Bani Walid and Sabha and on the capture of Gaddafi.