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Wed 6 Apr 2011 05:11 PM

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Libya rebels asked for oil export clearance, UN says

Rebels ask United Nations to help them restart oil and gas exports from ports they control

Libya rebels asked for oil export clearance, UN says
REBELS REQUEST: Rebels fighting Muammar Gaddafi in Libya have asked the United Nations to help them restart oil and gas exports from ports they control (Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

Rebels fighting Muammar Gaddafi in Libya have asked the United Nations to
help them restart oil and gas exports from ports they control, according to a
UN statement.

 The statement confirmed what the rebel Transitional National Council
said this week after a visit by a UN special envoy.

 It did not provide any information on what the UN might do, and a
spokeswoman was unable to clarify the UN position on Wednesday.

 "The council raised concerns about the lack of funds as well as
issues surrounding the marketing and sale of oil and gas in Libya, stressing
that the issues required urgent attention in order to enable the economy to
function effectively," the UN statement quoted its special envoy Abdel
Elah Al Khatib as saying after a meeting with Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the chairman
of the council.

A tanker arrived at an east Libyan port on Tuesday to load the first crude
cargo since unrest shut down exports in early March, but mystery surrounded the
potential buyer.

Although Qatar has said it will market Libyan crude, oil traders are wary of
breaking UN sanctions against the country which were designed to put pressure
on the Gaddafi regime.

Before the crisis, Libya was exporting around 1.3 million barrels per day
and since exports were halted, Brent crude futures have risen by around 20
percent to above $120 a barrel.

Shipping sources said last week Libyan oil shipments were at a standstill,
with no one attempting to hire tankers due to violence and the impact of
sanctions on Gaddafi.

 NATO has also been enforcing a UN arms embargo in international waters
aimed at stopping the "flow of arms and mercenaries" to Gaddafi. Ship
officials said the move may add disruptions for Libya-bound vessels.

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