Suspected Islamic State terrorists bombed a major oil pipeline pumping crude into the central distribution station at Sidr port on the Mediterranean Sea which features the largest oil depot in Libya.
According to witnesses, the attackers arrived at the site near Marada village in two Toyota trucks and planted explosives on the pipeline operated by Waha Oil Company, a subsidiary of Libya’s National Oil Corporation.
Islamic State group is active in the area after government forces expelled them from their main stronghold in Sirte a year ago.
Waha, which pumps 260,000 barrels a day, stopped pumping oil from the ferry terminal after the blast and diverted production to the Samah line.
The attack could reduce Libya’s oil production by up to 100,000 barrels a day. The country is currently producing 970,000 barrels per day, down from 1.6 billion before the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed dictator, Muammar Gaddafi.
Oil prices was trading at over $65 a barrel after the pipeline explosion, close to its highest price since mid-2015. Voluntary OPEC-led supply cuts also impacted the price.
The port of Sidr changed hands on several occasions during the Libyan civil war, which started in 2011. It was severely damaged by the fighting, and remained closed between 2014 and 2016. This March Sidr was recaptured by forces loyal to Libya’s eastern-based military commander, Khalifa Haftar, and resumed operations.