By Hadi Fornaji.
Tripoli, 29 September 2013:
Just as the Oil and Gas Ministry announced that restored oil output had reached 700,000 b/d, . . .[restrict]production from the Wafa gas field, which supplies Italy through the Greenstream trans-Mediterranean pipeline was shut in this afternoon by industrial action.
Reliable sources have told the Libya Herald that workers at the field, which is near the Algerian border in the Ghadames Basin, went on strike today demanding better benefits and conditions and the creation of more jobs.
The Wafa field, with the offshore Bahr Essalam gas field, constitutes the Western Libya Gas Project which supplies gas to Italy via two 530 km subsea pipelines. The pipelines, which were upgraded in 2009, have a capacity on 11 billion cubic metres per year. It is unclear the rate at which gas has been flowing. However, during the recent unrest that swept oil field production and export terminals, the workers in the Wafa field, took no significant industrial action.
It is reported that the gas field workers’ protest is not an attempt to challenge the government politically, but rather, as one source put it, “ cashing in on an opportunity to improve pay and conditions, when the government is being forced to do the same elsewhere”.
The latest industry upset will frustrate the NOC and the government. Bloomberg today reported that Oil Ministry Measurement Director Ibrahim Al-Awami as saying that Libyan oil production now exceeded 700,000 b/d, almost 45 percent of installed capacity. [/restrict]