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Libya's oil wells start up again

Libya has resumed oil production for the first time since the civil war, tapping 15 wells and producing 31,900 barrels per day.

Italian energy giant Eni said work had resumed at the Abu-Attifel fields, about 180 miles south of Benghazi. Other wells would be reactivated soon to reach the "required volumes to fill the pipeline" between the Abu-Attifel field and the Zuetina port.

The operations are being conducted by Mellitah Oil & Gas, a partnership between Eni and Libya's state-run National Oil Corp.

Before the protests against Muammar Gaddafi in mid-February turned into a full-scale civil war, Eni was producing 273,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in Libya. The country sits atop Africa's largest proven reserves of conventional crude.

With a small population of only six million, Libya raked in 40 billion dollars last year from oil and gas exports. Experts say it could take about a year or more to get back to its pre-war production of 1.6 million barrels a day.

Earlier this month, Eni CEO Paolo Scaroni visited Tripoli to lay the groundwork for relaunching gas exports to Italy via the Greenstream pipeline, which can carry roughly 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year. It hasn't been operational since late February.

Meanwhile gunmen loyal to Gaddafi have crossed the Libyan border from Algeria and attacked revolutionary forces in a town near the frontier, killing six people, officials said.

The cross-border attack on Saturday shows loyalist forces have managed to escape Libya and regroup and collect arms, bolstering fears the North African nation could face a protracted insurgency.

Libyan officials also announced the discovery of a mass grave believed to hold the remains of 1,270 inmates killed by Gaddafi's regime in a 1996 prison massacre.

The site - a desert field scattered with bone fragments - was found outside the walls of Tripoli's Abu Salim prison, where the victims were killed on June 26, 1996, after protesting against conditions at the facility.


From Belfast Telegraph