Fires has spread to reach 5 oil storage tanks near Libya’s biggest oil ports, due to clashes between Islamic State group (IS) and the Oil Installations Guards on Wednesday, Reuters reported.
Four of the fires are at Al-Sedra and one at Ras Lanuf. Two blazes were triggered by shelling from the Islamic State, and fire had spread to three more, the guards’ spokesperson, Ali Al-Hassy said.
Al-Hassy asserted that the forces gained control over Al-Sedra and Ras Lanuf ports. At least 9 guards were killed, more than 40 injured in the fight while around 30 bodies of the IS militants were found in the scene. Two military tanks and other vehicles were captured from the IS.
Mohamed al-Manfi, an oil official in eastern Libya, said each of the four oil tanks was estimated to contain 420,000 to 460,000 barrels of oil.
Al-Sedra and Ras Lanuf have been closed since December 2014. They are located between the city of Sirte, which is controlled by the Islamic State (IS), and the eastern city of Benghazi.
Chairman of the National Oil Corporation (NOC) in Tripoli, Mustafa Sanalla, hoped violence would lead political leaders of all sides in Libya to understand the magnitude of the threat we face.”
“We need to unite against this common enemy, not tomorrow or next week, but now”, he said in a statement.
The NOC also issued a separate statement saying it would do all it could to commit to contracts and protect Libya’s oil resources.