Libya declares force majeure for eastern Hariga oil port

TRIPOLI Fri Mar 14, 2014 11:02pm GMT

A general view of Libya's Hariga port, 1300 km (808 miles) east of Tripoli February 27, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

A general view of Libya's Hariga port, 1300 km (808 miles) east of Tripoli February 27, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya's state oil company on Friday declared force majeure for the Hariga oil export port in eastern Libya, which has been blocked by protesters since August.

It is the second such declaration for the 110,000-barrels-a-day port since last year. State-owned National Oil Corp (NOC) had lifted the suspension of contractual obligations under force majeure at Hariga at the end of October.

The Tripoli government then started talks with the protesters, who demand a greater share of Libya's oil wealth and political autonomy, but the negotiations failed to make progress towards ending the port blockage.

"Force majeure has been reinstated from March 14," NOC said in a statement. A spokesman for NOC said there was no solution in sight for the port conflict.

At Hariga, located in Tobruk near the Egyptian border, the main protest group has teamed up with another set of rebels who have seized three other ports in the east.

Last week, the port rebels managed to load oil at the Es Sider terminal onto a tanker, bypassing Tripoli. Libya's navy failed to stop the tanker. The vessel's final destination is unclear.

The oil blockages highlight chaos in the OPEC producer where the weak central government is unable to rein in armed groups that helped topple Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 but refuse to disarm.

(Reporting by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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