Libya’s Zawiya oil refinery severely damaged after skirmishes, NOC says

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TRIPOLI – Libya’s state oil company said on Tuesday that the 120,000 barrels per day (bpd) Zawiya oil refinery complex in a western city of capital Tripoli was severely damaged as a result of skirmishes late on Monday.

The National Oil Corporation (NOC) in a statement condemned the incident and described it as “criminal and irresponsible actions”. It said the oil sector “represents the livelihood of the Libyan state.”

Libya’s oil sector, the country’s only vital income, has been disrupted by unrest since the toppling of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi a decade ago.

Zawiya city, some 40 km (25 miles) in west of Tripoli, is the home of Libya’s biggest functioning refinery. It is connected to Sharara field, which has a capacity of around 300,000 bpd.

Reports of security unrest in the city were circulated on the internet, but no immediate comments were available by authorities.

NOC said the damages included eight storage tanks for petroleum products and crude oil, and another five tanks for base oils and chemical additives.

More damage happened at mineral oil mixing and filling plant, which resulted in the leakage of large quantities from storing base oil, NOC added.

“Such as criminal acts cannot be accepted in or near our sites,” NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla quoted in the statement,” many of our facilities have been sabotaged during the past years as a result of clashes.”

(Reporting by Ahmed Elumami; Editing by Marguerita Choy)