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Monday, March 14, 2011     GET REAL

Gadhafi and sons take back control of Libyan oil

CAIRO — The regime of Col. Moammar Gadhafi has resumed control of major energy reserves in Libya.


The opposition has acknowledged that Gadhafi forces captured the port of Ras Lanuf, employed for crude oil exports by Libya. Opposition sources said Gadhafi loyalists employed main battle tanks as well as naval vessels to drive out the rebels.

"Every day that passes civilian people are either killed or injured, and Gadhafi is bombing them with all kinds of weaponry," Libyan Revolutionary Council chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil said.

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Rebel leaders appealed to the international community for weapons and combat platforms. They said Gadhafi's forces were moving rapidly through rebel-held areas toward Brega, which contains a major oil terminal.

The Gadhafi regime touted the capture of Ras Lanuf as a major victory, Middle East Newsline reported. The son of Gadhafi, Seif Islam, said the regime would retake the entire country.

"I have two words to our brothers and sisters in the east: We're coming," Seif said.

Ras Lanuf was deemed a key asset in Libya's energy sector. Opposition sources said the port would enable Gadhafi to restore Libyan oil exports, estimated to have dropped by nearly 70 percent over the last month.

"Of course, the production is down drastically, or it is only 500,000 barrels per day, down from 1.6 million barrels per day," Libyan National Oil Co. chairman Shukri Ghanem said. "The foreign workers went back to their countries, the Libyans to their families, and of course oil production went down and oil exports went down."

In a briefing on March 10, Ghanem reported slight damage from Gadhafi shelling of another oil facility at Al Sidra. But he said the damage would not affect oil production.

"The whole industry is still working as one," Ghanem said.

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