Jul 9, 11:51 AM EDT

Production in Libya's Sharara oilfield resumes

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TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) -- Production at one of Libya's largest oilfield restarted, pumping at more than 90 percent of its capacity in a boost to the troubled North African nation, a Libyan official said Wednesday.

The pumping at southwestern Sharara oilfield, one of Libya's largest at 340,000 barrels per day, had been intermittently shut down because of protests in the area over financial and political demands.

The resumption of production comes days after the central government resolved another dispute with militias in the country's east that had caused exports from two of the country's oil ports to stop for almost a year.

The disputes over oil had knocked the country's regular 1.6 million barrels per day production down by 80 percent, seriously hurting revenues, as well as the central's government grip on power.

Mohammed al-Harari, spokesman for the National Oil Corporation, said that 325,000 barrels per day are being pumped from the Sharara oilfield since it reopened. Production resumed a day earlier.

The National Oil Corporation lifted a force majeure from two other eastern ports - Ras Lanuf and al-Sidra - on Sunday, following an agreement with rebels in the area to end their control over them.

The rebels had been demanding a share of the oil revenues and a degree of political autonomy. Production there has not resumed yet.

Libya has been struggling with a motley of militias vying for power, political disputes between Islamists and non-Islamist forces over control of the parliament and government, and rampant violence.

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