An oil tanker carrying 670,000 barrels of crude has left Libya’s port of Ras Lanuf, the first shipment since it was closed by rebels a year ago, despite warnings this week from the International Energy Agency that the North African country is struggling to find buyers for its oil.
The Gemini Sun Aframax tanker, owned by Zodiac Maritime and charted by Austria’s OMV, left Ras Lanuf, Libya’s third biggest port, on Tuesday evening and was sailing toward Italy on Wednesday, a spokesman for state-run National Oil Corp., or NOC, said.
A second shipment is expected in the coming days, he said.
Also this afternoon, sources confirmed that Libya plans to resume exports from its largest oil port Es Sider next week after a one-year interruption.
Ras Lanuf, which has the capacity to load 220,000 barrels a day, was occupied by armed rebels in August last year, and was only handed back to NOC last month.
The oil shipment is a boost to the country’s beleaguered central government, which is struggling to contain clashes between rival militant groups around the capital Tripoli and in the east.