Refinery protest causes petrol shortage in Libyan capital

TRIPOLI Mon Nov 5, 2012 4:58am EST

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TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Protests outside western Libya's main oil refinery shut down operations for a second day on Monday, causing long queues at petrol stations in the capital Tripoli, a refinery spokesman said.

Essam al-Muntasir of the Zawiya Oil Refining Company said many wounded veterans of the war which ousted Muammar Gaddafi last year were demonstrating in front of the refinery.

"They are not allowing the employees to enter the company and not allowing our tankers to leave," he told Reuters.

"They say they haven't received adequate compensation and feel the government hasn't given them their full rights."

He would not say if the protesters were armed.

A day after a gun battle that wounded five people in central Tripoli, the refinery protest is another reminder of volatile security conditions in Libya, where a weak central government has yet to control militias or meet its people's needs.

In Tripoli, dozens of cars lined up outside petrol stations patiently waiting to fill their tanks.

The Zawiya refinery, about 50 km (30 miles) west of Tripoli, has a capacity of 120,000 barrels per day and provides 40 per cent of western Libya's oil needs, Muntasir said.

He said refinery officials and elders from Zawiya were trying to resolve the dispute without resorting to police.

(Writing By Hadeel Al-Shalchi; Editing by Alistair Lyon)

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