(Adds OMV, paras 6-7)
TRIPOLI Aug 13 An oil tanker carrying 670,000
barrels of crude has left Libya's Ras Lanuf oil terminal, the
first shipment since the port was reopened following a year of
blockades by armed protesters, a spokesman for state-run
National Oil Corporation said.
The tanker carrying Sirtica crude left the Libyan port on
Tuesday evening, the spokesman said.
The shipment was a positive development for Libya's fragile
central government, which is struggling to contain fighting
between rival armed factions who have clashed with rockets and
artillery for a month in Tripoli.
Until April, federalist rebels demanding more autonomy for
their eastern region were holding four out of five eastern oil
ports, cutting off over half of Libya's export capacity of 1.25
million barrels per day, and hitting production in the North
African OPEC member.
The government managed to strike a deal to free up the
ports, but technical problems have delayed the full restart of
shipments. The NOC says current national production is around
450,000 barrels per day.
The tanker leaving from Ras Lanuf, the Gemini Sun, was
chartered by Austrian energy group OMV and was sailing
towards Malta on Wednesday, Reuters AIS Live ship tracking
OMV said on Tuesday its profits had been hard hit in the
second quarter by lower output on Libya. It is now producing
only 12,000 barrels per day in the North African country, little
more than a third of the level before the toppling of Muammar
Gaddafi three years ago.
(Reporting by Feras Bosalum, writing by Patrick Markey, editing
by William Hardy)