(Adds Eni quote, detail)
TRIPOLI May 20 Libya's oil terminals at Tobruk
and Zueitina re-opened over the weekend after protests forced
both ports to shut, Libya's deputy oil minister Omar Shakmak
However, fresh trouble arose at Libya's gas-exporting
Mellitah complex, he added, where guards were again attacked
overnight after clashes in March forced a halt in flows.
This time operations had not been affected, Shakmak said, in
the brief assault in which the attackers seized vehicles and
weapons from the guards.
Mellitah is a joint venture between Libya's National Oil
Corporation (NOC) and Italian oil and gas giant Eni.
"There were no firefights and the militias left the area.
Activities there are proceeding as normal," an Eni spokesman
The terminal at Zueitina re-opened over the weekend after an
agreement was reached with protesters, Shakmak said.
The port was shut for about six weeks at the start of the
year by local people demanding jobs.
This was promised in February allowing normal work at the
port to resume, but many had still not been hired due to
administrative delays and had resumed protesting, Shakmak said.
The deputy oil minister said he sympathised with their
demands, but added their actions were harmful to the country and
it was unfortunate an agreement had been reached under duress.
"The people in the area say... over 40 years the company has
made no contribution at all in the area," said Shakmak, adding
the Zueitina valley had been badly neglected and infrastructure
there was very poor.
"If you compare the cost of shutting down the terminal and
production losses, versus hiring 200 or 300 employees, I think
most people would go for the option of employment."
Zueitina is a relatively small producer, pumping between
60,000-70,000 barrels of oil and condensate - a light form of
crude - per day. The firm's terminal however has the capacity to
handle about 20 percent of Libya's crude exports.
Talks had similarly resolved problems at Tobruk over the
weekend, which was closed by protesters for about a week,
(Reporting by Jessica Donati and Ghaith Shennib; editing by