Libya’s Arabian Gulf Oil Co. will press ahead with plan to halt crude oil production by the end of today unless a week-long protest blocking the entrance to its headquarters is cleared, a company official said.
“Today is the deadline, it is May 3,” Abdul Jalil Mayuf, the state-run company’s information department manager said in a telephone interview from Benghazi. He said the company had given a final day for attempts to mediate a solution. “We have to wait until the end of the day. In the meantime, there are attempts by Benghazi civil society to solve the problem.”
Protesters are demanding jobs for unemployed youth, greater transparency from the government over how Libya’s oil revenues are spent, and payment for security guards who say they are owed wages.
Agoco faces higher logistical costs, such as staff relocation to temporary offices and communication with oil field employees, as a result of the protests, he said.
The demonstrations are concentrated at the company headquarters and Mayuf said there were no reports of attempts to blockade company production facilities.
The company is currently producing 375,000 barrels of crude a day, and is expected to reach its full capacity of about 425,000 barrels a day in mid-May, Mayuf said.
Libya’s government said late yesterday it was considering security options to protect the company headquarters.
“The prime minister’s office, along with the defense and interior ministry, are meeting and we are trying to find a solution to that problem, and to prevent any kind of protest to happen there,” Nasser El-Maneh, a spokesman for the prime minister, said in a televised news conference.