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Pipelines are seen in the industrial area of ​​the oil port of Ras Lanuf, Libya, January 11, 2017. – Reuters pic

TRIPOLI, March 8 – Libya’s National Oil Corporation said today that an armed group blockading two major oil fields has lifted its siege and production has resumed in one of them.

The NOC had announced on Sunday the suspension of production at the vast fields of Al-Sharara and Al-Fil after gunmen closed pipelines to the coast, the latest such stoppage in the decade-long conflict. in this crude-rich North African country.

The company had declared a case of force majeure, a legal measure releasing it from its contractual obligations due to circumstances beyond its control.

In a statement posted today on Facebook, the NOC announced “the reopening of the pipeline at al-Riyayna”, about 140 kilometers southwest of Tripoli, as well as “the resumption of production at Al-Sharara and the lifting of force majeure”.

He added that the Al-Fil pipeline in the country’s western desert had not yet reopened because “vandalism” required a technical team to carry out repairs.

Libya, which sits on Africa’s biggest crude reserves, has been rocked by 11 years of conflict since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

The country found itself facing a new political crisis this month, with two rival prime ministers vying for power in a stalemate that threatens a return to violence after a year and a half of relative stability.

Normally, Libya produces some 1.2 million barrels a day.

About a quarter comes from Al-Sharara, which is run by a consortium made up of NOC, Spain’s Repsol, France’s Total, Austria’s OMV and Norway’s Statoil.

The United Nations and the American ambassador to Libya had asked yesterday for the blockade to be lifted. —AFP