What is the Oil Refinery Plant 1

Libya: Largest oil refinery before reopening

The facility on the Mediterranean should have remained unscathed despite heavy fighting nearby. It could be up and running again in a few weeks.

The largest oil refinery in Libya, Ras Lanuf on the Mediterranean coast, is apparently unscathed despite fierce fighting between rebels and troops of the Gaddafi regime nearby. The staff is preparing to restart the plant, said managing director Nagib Burweiss of the Reuters news agency.

The refinery is said to be able to process 220,000 barrels of crude oil a day. "We were shut down since February. Now we are planning to restart the plant. We are ready for the start," said Burweiss, managing director of the Ras Lanuf Oil and Gas Processing Company (RASCO) on Saturday in his office in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

A few days ago, the oil city of Ras Lanuf was still under the control of the regime of long-term ruler Muammar al-Gaddafi, who went into hiding after the fall of the capital Tripoli. Ras Lanuf is also home to an oil export terminal with a capacity of 195,000 barrels per day (1 barrel = 159 liters).

Largest oil reserves in Africa

Libya is part of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The country is the third largest oil producer in Africa and has the largest reserves in Africa. Before the uprising against the Gaddafi regime, which began in February, Libya was producing 1.6 million barrels of oil a day. Oil revenues are vital for the Rebel Transitional Council to restore calm in the country.

Austria's OMV had produced 33,000 barrels per day of oil in Libya before the civil war, a tenth of the group's total production. OMV is involved in a total of eight oil fields in Libya. Production there has been at a standstill since March.

The chemical engineer Juma Abdulmajed, who has returned to Ras Lanuf, said of the possible date for the restart: "Maybe in two weeks."

GreenStream gas pipeline also repaired

The GreenStream gas pipeline between Libya and Italy has also been repaired and the way is clear for a restart, said the military spokesman for the Libyan rebels, Ahmed Bani, on Sunday. "Gas will flow back to Europe," Bani said at a press conference, without giving a timeframe for resuming gas supplies.

GreenStream is 510 kilometers long. The pipeline runs under the Mediterranean Sea between Mellitah, west of Tripoli, and Gela in Italy. It is 50 percent owned by the Italian oil company ENI. GreenStream, with which Italy covered 10 percent of its gas imports last year, was also closed in February shortly after the popular uprising against the Gaddafi regime began.