The suspension of eastern oil production highlighted Gadhafi's
dominance in his war against the rebels. Despite the NATO no-fly zone,
Gadhafi's military and security forces, estimated to number more than
20,000, have sustained attacks on such rebel-held oil fields as Messla and
Sarir, part of the Sirte Basin.
In March, the rebels reached an agreement to sell crude oil from
the Libyan terminal at Tobruk to foreign clients. Qatar was said to have
agreed to facilitate the rebel effort based on production of 100,000 barrels
The rebel's remaining oil asset was identified as the storage facility
in Tobruk. The terminal was said to contain one million barrels, with
exports coordinated by Qatar.
"I don't think we will depend on oil revenues in the next stage because
our production has been affected in this crisis," Ghoga said.
NATO has failed to protect the rebel movement amid the Gadhafi
offensive. The alliance's no-fly zone mission has been hampered by a
shortage of combat aircraft and fuel.
On April 7, at least five rebels were killed in a NATO air strike near
the Libyan port of Brega. The air strike, which targeted a rebel main battle
tank column, marked the second time in less than a week that NATO aircraft
bombed anti-Gadhafi forces.
"NATO is looking into the specific details of an alleged strike on a
column of tanks outside of Brega today," NATO said. "The fighting between
Brega and Ajdabiya, where the strike occurred, has been fierce for several
days. The situation is unclear and fluid with mechanized weapons travelling
in all directions."