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Tunisia reaches a deal with oil field protesters, production to restart

TUNIS, Nov 6 (Reuters) - The Tunisian government reached a deal on Friday with protesters blockading oil and gas fields in southern Tunisia, allowing production to restart on Saturday, Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi said.

Four months without production had cost the state losses of $350 million, the government said, as public finances are dire, with a record budget deficit of 12% of GDP in 2020.

At Kamour in Tataouin where Italy’s ENI and Austria’s OMV have operations, protesters had shut down in July the Vana pumping station, affecting around 50 percent of Tunisia’s energy production.

Tunisia only produces around 44,000 barrels per day, but the protests hit foreign companies.

“A final agreement has been reached to end El Kamour crisis ... Energy companies’ activity will resume naturally on Saturday”, Mechichi said.

The deal calls for jobs in oil companies and development projects. (Reporting By Tarek Amara; editing by Grant McCool)