Libya: strikers threaten to cut off Tripoli gas supplies

Unless three months' back wages paid within 48 hours

30 December, 13:13

    Hariga oil seaport Hariga oil seaport

    (ANSAmed) - TRIPOLI - Striking oil terminal security guards on Sunday threatened to cut off gas supplies to the capital unless three months' back wages are paid within 48 hours, local media reported Monday.

    Libyan oil production has dropped to 230,000 barrels a day since workers shut down eastern terminals and sites at the end of July, the oil and gas ministry said.

    The strikes have caused output to drop from an average of 1.6 million barrels a day before the 2011 revolution to a historic low of 110,000 b/d in 2013.

    Workers are demanding pay raises, better working conditions and a bigger cut of export profits in a country whose economy depends primarily on oil, which makes up 95% of its exports.

    The strikes are led by Petroleum Facilities Guard chief Ibrahim Jadran, whom federalists in August named head of a new political office responsible for the eastern coastal province of Cyrenaica, where most of Libya's oil is found.

    Jadran and his fellow federalists have declared Cyrenaica's semi-independence from Tripoli, accused the National Oil Company of corruption and the central government of withholding profits, and claimed the right to control natural resources in the eastern province.

    The central government's repeated attempts to negotiate a solution, including several visits to Cyrenaica by Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan and an offer of a 67% pay hike for oil workers, have so far been unsuccessful. (ANSAmed).

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