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TRIPOLI, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Libya has restarted oil production at the southern El Sharara field with an initial output of 60,000 barrels a day after protesters ended a blockade, the state National Oil Corp (NOC) said on Sunday.
Tribesmen calling for greater local power had blocked the field since the end of October, one of many disruptions that have crippled Libya's oil sector. Oil production had fallen to 250,000 bpd from 1.4 million bpd in July.
NOC hoped to reach the field's maximum output capacity of around 340,000 bpd within two to three days, spokesman Mohamed al-Harari said. "Production started last night," he said.
Libya is in turmoil as the government struggles to rein in dozens of militias that helped topple Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 but kept their guns to make political and financial demands.
Last week, the protesters at El Sharara agreed to suspend their action after the defence minister visited them and said the government would look into their demands. They want the establishment of a local council and the granting of national identity cards for tribesmen from the Tuareg minority.
The field, located in the remote and volatile south, supplies crude to the western Zawiya export terminal and feeds the 120,000-bpd Zawiya refinery.
There is no sign of progress in the east of the country despite the government's announcement last month of another attempt by tribal elders to pressure an autonomy group to end a blockade of the Ras Lanuf, Es-Sider and Zuweitina ports, which accounted previously for 600,000 bpd.
The group demands autonomy for the east and a greater share of the oil wealth, Libya's main source of income. (Reporting by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Janet Lawrence)
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