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FACTDROP: Libyan oil workers demo against “pro-Qaddafi” manager


Libyan oil workers demo against “pro-Qaddafi” manager

Πηγή: nowlebanon
Oct 19 2011

Workers at Libya's Waha Oil Company demonstrated on Wednesday demanding the resignation of their boss for alleged corruption and ties to the old regime, saying his refusal to quit was costing $36 million daily.

Around 100 people gathered outside the prime minister's office in Tripoli holding placards and chanting "Waha needs a change!" and "[company chairman Bashir] Al-Ashhab take your chair and get out!"

Waha is the country's largest joint venture oil company, a partnership between the state-run National Oil Corporation and three US firms, namely ConocoPhillips, Hess and Marathon. It has a production capacity of more than 350,000 barrels per day.

But production has been suspended since late February, first over the conflict, which damaged its infrastructure, and later due to the dispute between the government and employees, who have been on strike since early September.

"We are demanding that the management committee of Waha quit... After the February 17 revolution, we want to get rid of these figures of corruption," said Riad, an organization supervisor, who declined to give his full name.

"This management committee gave 60 four-wheel drive land cruisers to [ousted leader Moammar] Qaddafi's forces in March. These cars helped the Qaddafi forces kill some Libyan people and commit other crimes."

Waha manager Al-Ashhab was not immediately available to comment on the allegations.

An oil reservoir supervisor said crude production could be restored to around 200,000 bpd within two weeks if the workers' demands were met and a new manager appointed.

"Replacing the management is the first step," said Amr who declined to give his surname.

"We don't want people to control the company who we know had links to the Qaddafi regime. No one could get to a top position in Libya without doing something to support Qaddafi or one of his bad people," he told AFP.

Libya's new regime hopes to raise oil production, which collapsed after the February uprising, from current levels of about 400,000 barrels per day to pre-conflict levels of around 1.7 million bpd by the end of 2012.

Amr said Waha's total production capacity could reach 370,000 bpd.

Around 10 percent of the OPEC country's oil infrastructure was seriously damaged during the eight-month conflict, according to Libya's National Oil Corporation.

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