Strikes hurt Libyan oil production

March 18, 2013 at 8:56 AM

TRIPOLI, Libya, March 18 (UPI) -- A labor strike at the Gialo oil field in Libya left 120,000 barrels of crude oil per day off the market, Libyan Oil Minister Abdulbari al-Arusi said Monday.

Arusi told Bloomberg News the government was considering the use of force to quell oil demonstrations. Disruption to crude oil production in Libya is considered a crime.

"At the end, we are able to use force if these strikes continue to impact important facilities," Arusi said. "These (strikes) impact the lives of citizens and Libya's relationship with foreign companies."

Gialo field oil is typically delivered by pipeline to the Es Sider export terminal. A spokesman for a division of the Libyan National Oil Corp. told Bloomberg the labor strikes were ongoing.

Deliveries to Es Sider were halted by strikes in December. Arusi said the latest issue meant crude oil output was down 120,000 barrels per day because of the latest strike.

Libya is struggling to maintain its status as a North African leader in oil production because of repeated strikes and internal insecurity. The Mellitah energy complex in western Libya was shut down briefly as a security precaution following clashes between security forces and militants.

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