BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - Guards protesting over pay shut the eastern Libyan oil terminal of Hariga on Sunday, delaying two shipments of crude, a port official said.
A unit of Libya’s Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) took the action because they said they had not been paid their salaries recently, the Hariga official said.
He said the protest had delayed two tankers, one of which was already docked at the port, with the second scheduled to dock later on Sunday. Hariga has an export capacity of about 120,000 barrels per day (bpd).
Libya’s oil output has been sharply depleted by industrial disputes, insecurity and political strife since the country slipped into turmoil following the uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi five years ago.
Production has fallen to less than a quarter of a 2011 high of 1.6 million bpd.
Several major eastern Libyan terminals remain blockaded by the Petroleum Facilities Guard, a national force that is internally divided. Key units have shifted allegiances between different political factions.
Hariga has largely continued to operate smoothly, though the eastern branch of the National Oil Corporation (NOC) temporarily blocked exports there in May amid a dispute with the rival NOC based in Tripoli.
The PFG group that shut down Hariga is normally based south of the eastern city of Derna but traveled to the terminal on Wednesday to stage their protest, said Mohamed el-Harari, NOC spokesman in Tripoli.
There were “just a few people” among the protesters, he said. “The problem is that they put their hands on the terminal and they are stopping the loading. The authorities there are trying to resolve this.”
Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli; writing by Aidan Lewis; editing by David Clarke