Rebels, regime forces fight for control of Libya refinery

17 August 2011 17:49  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Military forces loyal to the regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi are fighting against rebels for control of the country’s only functioning refinery at Azzawiya, international media reported on Wednesday.

The Associated Press and the BBC both reported that heavy fighting had broken out in Azzawiya, some 50km west of the Libyan capital of Tripoli. Fighting was particularly intense around the refinery, reports added.

“The rebels are still fighting in the east of [Azzawiya],” a former government official said.

The Azzaiwya refinery, which is run by Azzawiya Refining Company (ARC), a wholly owned subsidiary of the state-run National Oil Corporation (NOC), is seen as a key strategic asset in the Libyan civil war, as it is the main source of energy and revenues for the Gaddafi regime.

The refinery has a nameplate capacity of 120,000 bbl/day, according to NOC, and is one of only two such facilities in the country. The second at Ras Lanuf, has been closed since the city became a battleground for rebels fighters and regime forces in March.

It was not clear if the Azzawiya plant was still operating at the time of going to press.

In 2010, NOC said that it was considering selling 50% of ARC to an international oil company.

By: Peter Salisbury
+44 20 8652 3214

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