By Jamal Adel.
Tripoli, 10 March, 2014.
Protestors at the Sharara oilfield in the south-west of the country who have been preventing oil . . .[restrict]being pumped say they suspended their action on Saturday. However, they say they will be back in a fortnight’s time if their demands are not met.
The decision to lift the blockade follows another visit to the the second largest oilfield in the country by Defence Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni. The field is operated by Akakus Oil.
“Either we’ll be satisfied with our demands being met soon or we’ll blocking the oilfield again in two weeks’ time,” a leading member of the Sharara blockaders, Mahmoud Al-Ansari, told the Libya Herald. “We lifted the blockade temporarily on the Saturday because of Abdullah Al-Thanni’s visit to the Sharara a few days ago” he explained.
Al-Thanni was at the oilfield on 2 March to meet the protestors, his second visit to the site. In January he managed to get them to lift their blockade after assuring them that the authorities would listen to their complaints. However, they renewed their action in mid February complaining that the government had not done so. Last week after Thinni’s second visit, the protestors said that they would not lift the blockade, declaring that his renewed attempt at mediation was just “words”.
It is not clear what made them change their minds.
The suspension will have limited effect as the pipeline to the Zawia refinery and terminal is still subject to separate action near Reyayna in the Jebel Nafusa by members of the Petroleum Facilities Guard from Zintan who have turned down the valves, demanding what had been described as compensation.
“The resumption of production started yesterday afternoon, but we couldn’t pump more than 100,000 b/d so far out of its total capacity 35000,000 b/d, because the block near Reyayana is what is now disrupting the usual flow of oil,” Sharara oilfield manager Hassan Al-Sideek told this newspaper.
The flow has been cut by more than 80 percent according to Husain Al-Hingari, in charge of the Sharara terminals at Zawia port.
“Zintan Local Council and the elders are doing their best to mediate the situation and convince the PFG members to lift their block on the terminal,” Mustafa Al-Barouni, a member of the council said. [/restrict]