29 July 2013, News Wires – Members of a Libyan minority group demanding more rights have interrupted the flow of condensate from the al-Wafa field in the west of the country to the Melittah treatment and storage complex co-owned by Italy’s Eni.
Reuters quoted Mellitah chairman Abdul-Fattah Shagan as saying the protesters had closed a pipeline valve two days ago, stopping the flow of condensate – a light form of crude – since then.
“The demonstrators closed the line somewhere near the town of Nalut,” Shagan said, referring to a small town near the Tunisian border.
“We found ourselves forced to burn some 21,000 barrels (of condensate) per day to avoid a production shutdown.”
The complex, located some 100 kilometres west of Tripoli, is operated by Mellitah – a joint venture between Eni and Libya’s state-run National Oil Corporation.
Reuters also cited an unnamed Mellitah source as sayingf a pipeline carrying gas bound for Italy that runs parallel to the condensate pipeline, had not been affected.
The protesters are Amazigh, or Berbers, who were objecting to what they said was under-representation in a committee that will be elected to draft Libya’s new constitution, Reuters reported.
The constitution will be the first since the 2011 ouster of Muammar Gaddafi.
The Amazigh and other ethnic minorities object to the fact that a drafting committee will vote on the constitution’s contents. They want a consensus of members, rather than just a majority, to decide on cultural and other issues.
Libya needs a viable government so it can focus on reconstruction and on healing the divisions opened up by the 2011 war.