Libyan oilfield protest ‘resolved’

01 April 2013, News Wires – Workers call halt to three-week-long blockade at one Waha field after talks with oil minister, report says

A three-week blockade of a Libyan oilfield has ended after the country’s oil minister “found a solution to the problem” of job demands, according to a report.

The protesters ended their blockade of Waha Oil Company’s Gialo 59 field after appealing to authorities to get oil companies to use local vehicles and drivers in their operations, Reuters reported.

“The protesters have now left. A team of them had gone to Tripoli to meet Oil Minister Abdelbari Arusi, who found a solution to the problem,” Taher Marfuaa, a field controller at Gialo 59, told the news wire.

Numerous protests and clashes between rival militia have threatened production at Waha-owned fields in recent weeks. They have come weeks after similar incidents briefly halted gas ­exports from the Melitah gas complex to Italy.

One incident at Waha’s Dahra field involved a militia firing at members of an oil protection force in an apparent bid to take over the job of protecting the facility.

Firing could also be heard at the nearby Al-Ghani field ­belonging to the Zueitina Oil Company.

Libya’s oil and gas sector continues to face disruption despite a return to the Gaddafi-era crude production level of about 1.6 million bpd last year.

Foreign companies have yet to return fully to their facilities and projects because of worries over security.

Waha — which groups US players Hess, ConocoPhillips and Marathon with the National Oil Corporation — accounts for almost one-quarter of ­Libya’s oil output of about 1.6 million barrels per day.

At Waha, where officials hope to raise output to 500,000 bpd by 2017, Marathon is looking to sell its 16.33%, stake for unstated reasons.

Under Gaddafi’s rule, NOC had plans to raise the country’s capacity to 1.8 million bpd on the way to a target of 2 million bpd and an eventual 3.3 million to 3.5 million bpd — the level existing in the early 1970s before Libya’s energy sector was hit by US sanctions.

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