Oil protests continue in Libya

Sept. 16, 2013 at 7:49 AM
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TRIPOLI, Libya, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- An organization lobbying for more autonomy in eastern Libya said there were no plans to re-open oil terminals closed because of strikes.

The Cyrenaica Political Bureau, an organization vying for more autonomy for the eastern half of Libya, denied allegations it reached a settlement to end oil strikes at export terminals.

"The bureau did not negotiate with any state officials, whether from the government or from the Congress," it was quoted Monday by The Libya Herald as saying.

Protesters last year staged demonstrations at the oil ports of Brega, Es-Sider and Ras Lanuf in solidarity with a semiautonomous move for Cyrenaica, the oil-rich eastern province. Most of the country's oil export terminals were closed this year because of strikes.

A security spokesman told the Herald last week the strikes are "political" and have nothing to do with labor issues. Supporters of the Cyrenaica said they were frustrated with "rampant corruption."

Libyan oil production is grinding to a halt. The U.S. Energy Information Administration, the analytical arm of the Energy Department, said last week Libya exported about 80,000 barrels of oil per day during the first week of July. That's down from 830,000 barrels per day in July.

Libya was producing 1.6 million bpd before civil war in 2011.

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