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Tunisia’s oil production down due to protests, claims trade union official

A Tunisian trade union official confirmed on Wednesday that crude oil production in the country has fallen by 52 per cent recently due to protests in the areas where the oil fields are located. Hasnaoui Smiri, the Secretary General of the Federation of Petrochemicals at the Tunisian General Labour Union — the largest union in Tunisia — said that production has gone down to 22,000 barrels per day, from 46,000 barrels during the first five months of this year.

In an interview with Anadolu at the end of a trade union event in Tunis, Smiri attributed the fall to protests in various parts of the country, including areas where oil companies operate. “A number of oil companies that are located in southern Tunisia expressed their intention to leave the country because of social protests, which might make the situation even more serious… If the crisis is not resolved, oil production might decline to 10,000 barrels in the upcoming months.”

Anadolu was not able to get an immediate comment from the Tunisian government concerning the production fall and the intention of oil companies to leave the local market.

Since May, the Tunisian governorate of Kebili has been witnessing protests against unemployment, which have halted oil production and pumping from the regional oil fields in June. Smiri called on the protesters to “take into account the serious situation in Tunisia and the national interest of the country before any regional interests or social demands.”

In early June, the Tunisian Ministry of Energy and Mines announced that the protests in several governorates, mainly Tataouine and Kebili, caused losses in the sector estimated at $9.8 million a week.

Middle East Monitor

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