Libya: Zueitina oil port witnesses another disruption
Protesters who had subsequently disrupted operations at the oil port of Zueitina have returned again with claims that their demands for jobs have not been met, according to an engineer at the port. Loading of ships has been blocked and some oil fields prefer pumping water rather than oil to the port as a “precautionary measure” another worker added.
The protesters took over the port a few hours after the workers of the Zueitina Oil Company decided to put a temporal end to their strike and commence production at oilfields linked to the terminal. The workers are asking for a change in management relating to a dispute over work conditions. Their position will be studied after the holy month of Ramadan.
The engineer said that he recognized some of them as those who halted the operations of the terminal for a couple of weeks for the same reason at the beginning of the year. He said that the protesters have allowed the loading of an Italian ship upon their arrival but “all other export activities are shut down.” Oil Minister Abdelbari al-Arusi has promised to resolve some of their demands after Ramadan and hopes that a definite solution will soon be found. Frequent strikes have led to power cuts and gas shortages in Libya.
This recent setback came at a point when production was resuming at oil fields and a senior Libyan oil industry source has admitted that it will hurt export operations. The port has the capacity to accommodate 20% of Libya’s crude oil export. It is located at 850 km east of Tripoli and pumps between 60,000 and 70,000 barrels of oil and condensate, a light form of crude, per day.