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Agoco Threatens May 3 Oil Halt If Libya Protests Continue

Libya’s Arabian Gulf Oil Co. may halt crude production if the government fails by May 3 to clear protesters who have been blocking the entrance to the state-run company’s headquarters in Benghazi for a week, an official said.

Agoco faces higher logistical costs, such as staff relocation to temporary offices and communication with oil field employees as a result of the protests, Abdul Jalil Mayuf, manager of the company’s information department said.

“We could no longer bear this and deal with the delay,” he said by telephone from Benghazi today. “If this is not dealt with, then the consequences would be grave. It is unbelievable that a company as big as Agoco remain hostage to a group of people. The government should either deal with them by force or find a solution.”

Protesters demanded jobs for unemployed youth and greater transparency on how government money is spent. Mayuf also complained about the protests last week, saying demonstrators should address their action to the government rather than Agoco.

The company is currently producing 375,000 barrels of crude a day, and is expected to reach its full capacity of about 425,000 barrels a day in mid-May, Mayuf said.

Libya last month pumped about 1.35 million barrels a day nationwide, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, or about 84 percent of its pre-war output of 1.6 million barrels a day.

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