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Libya resumes output from western oilfields

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Libya's Minister of Oil and Gas Abdelbari al-Aroussi speaks during a press conference on August 5, 2013 in Tripoli. Aroussi said Libya's oil production have come back to normal after protesters forced the closure of exploration terminals.AFP

Production has resumed from Libya's western oilfields but protests at the main shipping terminals are still blocking exports from the central coast, Petroleum Minister Abdelbari al-Aroussi said on Monday.

Aroussi said that output was now running at 700,000 barrels per day, up from the low of 330,000 bpd recorded at the height of the protests last week but still far short of the pre-protest average of 1.42 million bpd.

"Crude supplies have improved in the west, where we have succeeded in restoring production in all fields after negotiations with the various parties," the oil minister said.

"We are trying to reach a settlement in the central region where the Zueitina (100,000 bpd), Sedra and Ras Lanouf (600,000 bpd) terminals remain closed."

Aroussi was speaking at joint news conference with Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, who announced last Wednesday that oil exports had plunged by more than 70 percent after protesters forced the closure of shipping terminals.

Zeidan said at the time that the protesters included policemen and border guards demanding back pay, as well as others insisting the chief of security for the terminals withdraw his resignation.

He warned against these "grave incidents," given that oil exports constitute nearly all of Libya's foreign revenues.