Waha Oil Co.’s pipeline in Libya was shut because of a strike at its Gialo field resulting in a cut in the country’s crude output by 120,000 barrels a day, Oil Minister Abdulbari al-Arusi said.
The protest is continuing today at the Gialo field, which feeds crude into a pipeline that runs to the Es Sider export terminal, Abduljalil Mayuf, spokesman of Arabian Gulf Oil Co., a unit of National Oil Corp., said by phone from the eastern city of Benghazi.
Nuri Berruien, chairman of state-run NOC, which owns Waha Oil in partnership with ConocoPhillips, Hess Corp. and Marathon Oil Corp., couldn’t be reached on his mobile phone for comment.
Libya, holder of Africa’s largest crude reserves, is struggling to contain strikes and sporadic armed clashes as it strives to increase oil output and attract foreign investors in the aftermath of the uprising that ousted Muammar Gaddafi and put the country in political turmoil.
Truck drivers who transport jet fuel to Benina Airport in the eastern city of Benghazi are also on a walkout, forcing the government to bring product from the capital Tripoli at a higher cost to ensure the operations of flights at the facility, al-Arusi told reporters yesterday.
“At the end, we are able to use force if these strikes continue to impact important facilities,” al-Arusi said. “These impact the lives of citizens and Libya’s relationship with foreign companies.”
Prime Minister Ali Zaidan said that halting oil production is a “crime punishable by law,” according to Libya’s official news agency LANA.
Libya’s crude output rose to 1.38 million barrels a day in January, according to the International Energy Agency, and the Oil Ministry plans to boost supply to as much as 2 million barrels by the end of 2015.