By Seraj Essul and Tom Westcott.
Tripoli, 24 July 2013:
Zuetina Oil Company has resumed production of oil and gas but is holding . . .[restrict]back from exporting any hydrocarbons until the latest wave of protests at the port has finished.
Work at the Zuetina port and oil fields was disrupted by disgruntled workers and oil field guards striking about pay and conditions at the end of June. The loading of vessels was suspended then for more than a fortnight.
“We started loading two waiting ships on 10 July,” mechanical maintenance head at Zuetina, Hamad Al-Agouri, told the Libya Herald, “but the loading of the second ship was interrupted by protestors on 15 July.” No vessels have been loaded since.
These protestors, a different group from the strikers who previously brought Zuetina production to a standstill, claim to have been promised jobs by the government which have not been forthcoming.
Agouri said that although these protestors are fewer than ten in number, they are the main reason why exports have not recommenced.
“We are not loading ships because we don’t want this to be interrupted again by circumstances we can’t control,” said Agouri. “If we start pumping the oil and gas and it gets stopped, this causes problems in the system and will cost a lot of money to fix.”
He added that, after the recent disruptions, workers now wanted the company to ensure the port was properly protected. “We are now demanding that the port be secured to ensure there will be no further security or technical issues,” Agouri said.
There is one ship at the port at the moment, which has been waiting for two days. [/restrict]