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Libya's PFG threatens to close oil facilities to press salary demands

(Reuters) - Libya's Petroleum Facilities Guards threatened on Sunday to close all oil and gas facilities in the country's western region after the end of a 10-day deadline to authorities to meet their demands, including a 67% salary rise.

Libya's oil sector, the country's major source of income, has been a target for local and broader political protests since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011.

Members of PFG, a military group tasked with protecting oil facilities, made the threat in videos posted online on Sunday.

Video footage on social media platforms X and Facebook showed a group of PFG members in military uniforms closing a feeder valve to the Mellitah oil complex in western Tripoli.

Reuters could not independently verify the footage's authenticity.

Mellitah is a joint venture between Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) and Italy's Eni (ENI.MI). If the complex is closed, that would disrupt the supply of gas through the Greenstream pipeline between Libya and Italy.

NOC said on X that it discussed with the PFG head their demands and "understood" them but added there "is a necessity of keeping oil installations away from any tensions".

NOC did not disclose if there was any disruption of operations.

The government in Tripoli had no immediate comment.

Karim al-Ghamoudi, a member of the PFG, told Libya's Alahrar TV channel that they closed the gate to the Zawiya refinery - also in western Tripoli - saying supply was going normally but "slowly because of crowds at the gate".

"There are only fake promises, and we want them (authorities) to listen to our demands," Ghamoudi said.

Zawiya oil refinery has a capacity of 120,000 barrels per day (bpd) and is connected to the country's 3000,000 bpd Sharara oilfield.

In January, Sharara was closed by protesters from the Fezzan region in the south, prompting the NOC to declare force majeure on the field which was reopened some days later.

"We regret and we are unwilling to close oil facilities," members of the PFG said in a different video statement.

The group called on the government of national unity (GNU) led by Abdulhamid Dbeibah to adopt a 67% salary raise similar to that awarded to NOC staff.

It also asked the GNU to include them "administratively and financially under the National Oil Corporation, and technically under the defence ministry".


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