Tripoli, 22 May 2013:
Guards at one of Libya’s biggest oil fields say they plan to mount a blockade as of Sunday . . .[restrict]in protest at non-payment of salary and other demands.
According to a man claiming to be one of the strike organisers, 300 guards and supporters intend to continue their action at the giant Elephant (El-Fil) field west of Murzuk until the operators, Mellitah Oil, pay them. He claims they have not been paid since September 2011. The other demands are the provision of military vehicles and equipment for the guards, daily expenses to cover food and fuel (it was claimed that the guards have to provide this themselves at present), priority to be given to locals in recruitment for jobs and the establishment of an NOC office in the south of the country.
Production at the Elephant field restarted in November 2011 and is believed to be back at pre-revolution levels, 130,000 barrels a day. It is largest field operated by Mellitah, a joint venture between the NOC and Italy’s ENI.
The strike organiser said the guards also intended to blockade another, smaller field nearby.
“The protests will be peaceful,” he said, “but if they do not get their rights, they will take further steps”. However, he did not explain what such steps might entail.
A spokesman from Mellitah said he was unaware of the planned action.
Yesterday, Congress’ Energy Committee said that that disrupting oil production was illegal and that anyone who forced oil facilities to close should be taken to court.
In March, a 17-day blockade at Waha Oil’s Gialo 59 field near Jalu in central eastern Libya reportedly cost the country 120,000 b/d in lost production. [/restrict]