Plumes Of Black Smoke Rising From Area Around Es Sider Oil Terminal

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Update: Rebel witnesses say storage tanks in east Libya terminal of Es Sider hit an exchange of fire between Gaddafi forces and rebels . Reuters reports that three plumes of black smoke are rising from the area around As Sider oil terminal.  This is in addition to Al Jazeera video coverage of comparable activity at Ras Lanuf. Whether this indicates that Operation Apres Moi Le Deluge by Gaddafi has commenced is unclear for now.

More from Reuters:

Forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi hit storage tanks in the oil terminal of Es Sider in east Libya on Wednesday during a heavy bombardment of rebels in the area, rebel fighters said.

Big, black plumes of smoke rose above the terminal. It was not immediately possible to independently confirm the report that the storage tanks were hit or to ascertain if the cause was the bombardment by Gaddafi's forces or a stray rebel rocket. "We were standing over there in the direction of Es Sider. It was a fierce, random bombardment on us and then it hit the storage tanks," rebel figther Abdel Salam Mohamed told Reuters.

Below is a quick summary of all the latest battles and key developments in Libya via Reuters:

OIL TOWN BATTLES

* Both the Gaddafi
side and rebels have said publicly they will not seek to destroy oil
infrastructure, but the risk of long-term damage is rising.

*
Gaddafi loyalists closed in on rebels in the western oil terminal of
Zawiyah on Wednesday, surrounding them with tanks and snipers in the
main square. The major Zawiyah refinery, one of the biggest in Libya,
shut down as a result.

* Warplanes bombed rebel positions around
the oil port of Ras Lanuf in the east, with rebels in 4x4 trucks
mounted with weapons engaging the army in strike and counter-strike.

* Rebels told Reuters on Tuesday they were in control of the front line
port town of Es Sider, although it was not possible to independently
confirm their presence there.

* The oil terminal and export hub of Brega, 800 km (500 miles) east of Tripoli has seen fighting and is in rebel hands.

OILFIELDS

* Most of Libya's oilfields are located around the Sirte Basin, which
contains around 80 percent of its proven reserves, and is emerging as a
front line between rebels and loyalists.

* The Hamada oilfield
ceased production and the eastern fields of Sarir, Nafoora and Misla are
producing at about half of their normal capacity, an official at
state-owned oil company Agoco said last week.

* The Waha Oil
Company, which operates the Waha, Dahra, Samah and Gialo fields, said on
Tuesday its output had dropped to less than a third its normal level.

* It is unclear how much oil is being produced in the isolated Murzuq
oilfield in the southern desert. Other key oil-producing areas include
the Ghadames Basin and Cyrenaica Basin.