Libya’s Biggest Oil Terminal is Operating, Guards Say
The Es Sider terminal and Ras Lanuf port, which serves an export refinery with the same name, were shut on July 5 after security staff went on strike to demand better pay and conditions.
“It’s final, the disputes have been resolved, they are back at work today,” Walid Mohammed, public relations director of the Defence Ministry’s oil security force, the Petroleum Facilities Guard, said in an interview at the PFG headquarters in Tripoli.
Repeated closures by staff and the armed militia who protect such facilities has led to fluctuations in the country’s oil production and exports this year. Libyan crude production fell to 1.1 million barrels a day last month, the least since January, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Mohammed didn’t give details of the new pay settlement though he said it was accepted by staff. “Our managers are back at work at both plants,” he said.
Production at El Feel, an oil field in southwest Libya, remains halted following an industrial dispute that began last month, he said.
“There’s a strike” and “the problem has not been resolved,” he said of El Feel.
Longer term, the government is still working out a new strategy on who controls oil field security, he said. While the Petroleum Facilities Guard is part of the Defense Ministry, its wages, training and equipment are funded by the state-run National Oil Corp.
The guard has expanded to 18,000 men, from 12,000 in March, Mohammed said. On June 25, the guard’s Tripoli headquarters was attacked by gunmen from Zintan, with six people wounded in the clash.
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