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New clashes in Libya threaten oil infrastructure

Dubai — Clashes between rival Libyan militias in Tripoli have reignited despite a UN-brokered ceasefire, threatening the supply of oil products in the capital, sources in the country said.

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The UN's Support Mission in Libya announced a ceasefire deal late Tuesday, signed by the Government of National Accord, military leaders, security services and armed groups.

But not all of Tripoli's warring parties attended the meeting in Zawiya, an industrial city to the west of Tripoli. Two militias in the capital -- the Seventh Brigade and Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade -- completely ignored the deal and had been fighting since the morning, the sources said.

The renewed fighting left many in Tripoli skeptical that the ceasefire can hold for the other partners. It also added to the general uncertainty over Libya's political future, which continues to cast a long shadow over oil exports. National elections planned for December add another layer of unpredictability.

So far there has been no impact on the OPEC member's upstream production, after more than a week of deadly clashes. Crude production has recovered to over two-month highs of 1 million b/d in the past few weeks.

The capital's refined product infrastructure has sustained significant damage, however.

Clashes near Tripoli airport on Tuesday led to a fire at a tank farm operated by Brega Petroleum Marketing Co. Brega officials said they had not been able to assess damage at a key aviation fuel tank near Tripoli airport due to the intensity of the fire, which erupted Tuesday.

The state-owned company, which is responsible for Libya's domestic fuel distribution, suffered another attack Wednesday on one of its facilities. An armed group entered a warehouse located in eastern Tripoli and forcibly seized hundreds of gas cylinders. It is unclear if the attack was opportunistic or by one of the warring militias.

Earlier this week, NOC and BPMC said they were developing alternative plans for the distribution of fuel should the clashes continue.

In a statement, NOC said it would continue to provide all the necessary support to BPMC to ensure stable fuel supplies to all sites and retail stations.

--Adal Mirza, adal.mirza@spglobal.com

--Jonathan Loades-Carter, jonathan.carter@spglobal.com