The 73rd Infantry Brigade handed over on Tuesday Zueitina oil port to Naji al-Maghrabi, chairman of the parallel east-based National Oil Corporation (NOC).
Commanded by Brigadier General Ali Al-Qatani, the 73rd Infantry Brigade secured the Zueitina oil port, 180 kilometers southwest of Benghazi on the Gulf of Sirte, since 2016.
The parallel NOC in Benghazi, affiliates with the Libyan National Army (LNA) previously failed to market oil independently from the original NOC in Tripoli, which is recognized by UN Security Council resolutions as the only legitimate producer and seller of Libyan oil.
In September 2016, the Libyan National Army (LNA) launched an operation to defeat militias of former PFG Chief Ibrahim Jadran, restoring Ras Lanuf, Es Sider and Zueitina oil terminals.
The battle for the control of oil resources is at the center of a conflict between power brokers; one is led by Head of Presidency of Council (PC) Faiez Sarraj in the west and the other is led by LNA Commander Khalifa Haftar in the east.
Armed groups, mainly operating from the south, launch attacks against Libyan oil fields to strengthen their grip over the country and control its revenues.
Zueitina and Hariga are among the oil ports that the eastern-based LNA said in June 2018 will be under the management of a parallel (NOC) in Benghazi.
The ports are vital to controlling crude exports, the North African nation’s main source of revenue, although the instability at the terminals creates uncertainty for international buyers of oil and could cause a suspension of exports.
The storage capacity of Zueitina Oil Port is about 6.5 million barrels of crude oil, 988 thousand barrels of naphtha, 240 thousand barrels of liquefied butane gas and 270 thousand barrels of liquefied propane gas, according to Zueitina Oil Company’s website.