The Zueitina Oil Terminal is situated at the Gulf of Sirte, 180 km south west of Benghazi and around 850 km east of Tripoli.
Since the fall of the Gaddafi regime in 2011, oil production in Libya had been affected by strikes of workers, unemployed youth movements and political protesters. In 2013, the Zueitina Oil Terminal had to close down its operations several times due to protests. In July, workers of Libya's Zueitina Oil Company had been striking in order to demand a change in management relating to a dispute regarding working conditions. Just hours after they had suspended their strike, armed protesters stormed the facility and took it over. They immediately asked for operations to be shut down. At first, it was not known what the protesters wanted but they were then recognized as being part of a group of civilian unemployed demonstrators who had shut down the terminal several weeks earlier demanding employment. The protesters were said to number less than 10, although they represented around 300 people. When they had asked for jobs a few weeks earlier, an agreement had been reached for new jobs to be created but the group said that they were still waiting to begin to work.
Due to the protest of the workers and the blockage of the terminal, Libya's oil output was cut and shortages of gas supply to power stations were caused. In July 2013, after the incident, several Libyan cities have had nearly daily power cuts for several hours. During the blockade, the Zueitina Oil Terminal's operations were halted, which also caused production at the oil fields that used the port to stop.
By March 2014, the Zueitina Terminal was later occupied by rebel forces and had independently started exporting oil after an assessment of the damage. Officially, the eight-month oil blockade came to an end after an agreement between the government and the occupiers was found. But by 2014, the rebels had seized three major ports in the country.
By August 2015, oil export is still being conducted without regulation and control, bypassing state regulations and the UN Security Council ban on the sale of oil other than though the National Oil Corporation, in Tripoli.
According to Reuters, Lybias oil production plummeted from 1.6 billion bpd before the war to 380000-400000 bpd by May 2015. And, oil facilities being at the center of the Libyan Civil War, they have become the battle ground for armed groups, causing environmental damage. Specifically, there have been cases of damages to tankers smuggling oil.