Libyan state security guards have started a protest at the 120,000 barrels a day Hariga oil port in the east, halting any oil exports, a Libyan oil official said on Saturday.
The port closure is the second blow to Libya’s oil industry within days after gunmen forced the closure of the southern El Sharara oilfield which used the pump at least 200,000 bpd.
A tanker had been waiting for three days to lift oil Hariga, located in Tobruk, but the guards did not allow it to, the official said, asking not to be named. The port was only open for fuel imports, he added.
The closure will lower Libya’s output to around 500,000 bpd, based on previous published figures. State firm National Oil Corp (NOC) has not given a production update for a month.
The protesters at Hariga were part of a state security oil force which had gone several times on strike this year to complain about allegedly missing salary payments.
“There is a sit-in from security guards who say they have not been paid,” the official said. “We are trying to solve the issue.”
Libya’s oil industry had recovered in the past few months from a wave of protests at ports and oilfields which had lowered output to 100,000 bpd in the first half of thee year. Output had hit 900,000 bpd in September.
Officials had hoped the output would stay isolated from chaos gripping the North African country where two governments and parliaments compete for legitimacy three years after the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi.