Libya asks for international help to extinguish oil terminal fire

Libya asks for international help to extinguish oil terminal fire
Mon Dec 29, 2014 11:19:54

Libya’s Interior Minister Omar al-Sinki has pleaded for international help to prevent a massive fire at the North African country’s largest oil terminal from spreading.

Al-Sinki called on the United States and Italy to help extinguish the fire at the al-Sidra oil export facility west of the city of Benghazi, which has been burning for the past two days, Libya’s Herald website reported on Saturday.

The Libyan minister added that the fire could lead to an environmental disaster, as firefighters lack resources and have been unable to put out the blaze.

Hamid al-Habuni, a senior official in the state-run Ras Lanuf Oil Company, added that it could take at least a week to extinguish the fire, “provided the necessary equipment is available.”

The fire started on Thursday after militants’ rocket hit one of the 19 storage tanks at the oil terminal.

Since December 13, when clashes first started around the export terminals of the oil facility, Libya’s oil production has fallen to less than 350,000 barrels per day from the previous 800,000, according to industry experts.

Libya plunged into chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime dictator, Muammar Gaddafi. The ouster of Gaddafi gave rise to a patchwork of heavily-armed militias and deep political divisions.

The country has been witnessing numerous clashes between government forces and rival militia groups that refuse to lay down their arms. The groups are now turning their guns on each other in an attempt to dominate politics and the country’s vast oil resources

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