Libya's Waha Oil workers protest for a seventh week

Reuters, Wednesday 19 Oct 2011

Employees at Libyan-foreign oil firm extend their protests for a seventh week after oil ministry overturns agreement to remove the company's chairman

Libya oil
Oil facilities in eastern Libya (Photo: Reuters)

Workers at Waha Oil, which accounted for around a quarter of Libya's prewar oil output, extended protests for a seventh week after the oil and finance ministry overturned an agreement to remove the company's chairman, they told Reuters.

Waha Oil is a joint venture between Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) and U.S. companies ConocoPhillips , Marathon and Amerada Hess .

Its workers, who have been demonstrating outside the oil and finance ministry's office, said they could not return to the war-damaged oil fields under its current managers, whom they accuse of having cooperated with former leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Officials at NOC could not immediately be reached for comment.

An initial promise by NOC to remove Waha's chairman, Bashir Alashab, and his deputy was overturned on Tuesday, the workers said.

They said they believed Alashab was inside the ministry in a closed meeting with the head of the NOC and the oil and finance minister.

"The people don't want to waste time. We are ready to return to the desert. We can be there within a week," said one of the organisers, Ahmed El Mahmoudi, vowing to continue protesting until their demands for new management were met.

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