Fierce clashes between rival armed groups have broken out in Libya’s “oil crescent”, home to the country’s biggest oil terminals.
The fighting, which broke out at dawn, is between the self-styled army based in the east of the country, known as the Libya National Army (LNA), and the Benghazi Defence Brigade, an umbrella group for a mix of fighters which includes Islamists.
It caused an oil storage tank to catch fire in the Ras Lanuf terminal, according to witnesses. Media reports citing oil industry workers also say the Es Sider terminal has been shut down.
The two terminals produce combined exports of just over 400,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
While the oil crescent is no stranger to armed clashes, it has witnessed a period of relative calm over the past year, which allowed the country’s crude oil exports to increase.
The area has been under the control of the LNA since late 2016.
Earlier this week, there were reports of airstrikes by the LNA, targeting units of the Benghazi Defence Brigade south of Ras Lanuf