Rebel Oil Output Still Hampered In Libya

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Opposition forces to Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi may see their attempts to produce more crude oil hampered for another month as they need to repair damage done to oilfields and pipelines during recent fighting with government-backed forces. Prior to the onset of violence in the North African country in February, Libya was Africa's third-largest oil producer.

Libyan exports have dwindled significantly as violence there escalated and that scenario is viewed as a main contributor to the recent rise in oil prices. Earlier this month, the Gulf state of Qatar helped rebels complete the sale of 1 million barrels of crude that netted roughly $129 million for the anti-Gadhafi forces, according to the Associated Press.

The rebels blame pro-Gadhafi forces for causing damage to critical oil assets and infrastructure, but the Gadhafi regime has blamed British warplanes, an allegation that NATO denies, the AP reported. Rebels said the Zueitina and Sirte Oil companies will be able to get back to work as soon as their respective areas of operation are secure.

The rebels' finances have been strained as much of the $129 million they made on the recent oil shipment has been used to purchase gasoline. Libya is home to Africa's largest oil reserves.