By Reem Tombokti and Tom Westcott.
Tripoli, 9 July 2013:
The oil export terminals of Es Sidra and Ras Lanuf are both running . . .[restrict]as normal following recent protests by oil field guards, according to the Ministry of Oil.
Es Sidra reopened yesterday following negotiations, a spokesman from the Ministry said. A port worker denied, however, that protestors from the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) had stopped operations at the Ras Lanuf terminal.
Es Sidra export terminal was closed for three days over the weekend, after members of the PFG involved in a salary dispute stormed the port and ordered employees to stop work. After more oil field guards moved into Ras Lanuf port, a delegation was sent from the GNC’s energy committee to negotiate.
“They closed the port because of some delays to salary payments,” a source at the PFG told the Libya Herald, “and they want the headquarters to be moved to Brega, where it was first set-up.”
He said that, during the negotiations, assurances were given that PFG employees would receive their salaries. Officials also said that a committee would be formed to study the protestors’ other demands.
“They are giving this committee a chance because they know that, for the good of the country, they can’t keep the ports closed,” the source said.
Employees of oil companies affected by the protest, as well as members of the PFG, have expressed their anger and frustration at the protests.
“A large number of guards are against the closure of these ports,” one PFG guard told the Libya Herald: “Our job is to protect the oil industry and make sure it keeps running because it is the country’s main source of income.”
Another said that the guards were the only ones who ever went on strike. Engineers, technicians and those working at oil fields and export terminals don’t cause such problems “because they know how important the oil industry is to the country.”
The demand made by some PFG employees for the relocation of the organisation’s headquarters is part of a wider campaign for decentralisation. Earlier in the year, Libyan Airlines’ employees staged several strikes demanding that the company headquarters should be returned to Benghazi, where the company was first established. [/restrict]