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First crude shipment in two years leaves major Libyan port

Jessica Morris
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LIBYA-CONFLICT-GAS
ibya has been locked in a brutal civil war since the ousting and death of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 (Source: Getty)

A tanker set sail from the Libyan port of Ras Lanuf to Italy today, marking the first shipment from one of its key oil terminals since the civil war froze activity there two years ago.

The port manager told Reuters that a second tanker is preparing to load at the terminal, stoking hopes that it will bring Libya a step closer to reviving the battered oil sector on which its ailing economy depends.

Ras Lanuf is one of a number of ports which was recently captured by eastern Libyan forces, loyal to military leader Khalifa Haftar, and subsequently given to the state-run National Oil Corporation.

It comes against an increasingly complicated domestic backdrop as Libya struggles to form a united national government. Since 2014, it's been largely split between two rival governments based in the east and the capital city of Tripoli.

Libya has been locked in a brutal civil war since the ousting and death of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, during which various militant groups and the government have vied for control of the country, especially its oil resources.

While Libya is the holder of Africa's largest proven crude oil reserves, it is one of the smallest Opec producers. It produced slightly more than 400,000 barrels per day in the first 10 months of 2015, much less than the 1.65m pumped out in 2010 before the unrest started.

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