Libya protest threatens gas exports to Italy

Protesters have blocked access to a major gas terminal in Libya, the head of Italian oil and gas giant ENI said on Wednesday, warning it may be forced to stop exports to Italy altogether.

Libya protest threatens gas exports to Italy
Photo: ENI/Flickr

ENI is the biggest foreign oil company in Libya and runs a pipeline to Sicily from the Mellitah gas terminal in the troubled country.

"What we are worried about at the moment is the Mellitah terminal, which has been attacked by protesters, pushing us to stop exports towards Italy," Italian media quoted chief executive Paolo Scaroni as saying.

However, Scaroni said he did not forsee problems with gas supply to Italy.

The ENI press office was unable to say whether the attackers were armed.

Last week, protesters from Libya's minority Amazigh Berber ethnic group held a sit-in at the Mellitah terminal to demand greater rights.

Berbers make up about 10 percent of Libya's population. They were persecuted under former dictator Muammar Qaddafi and feel marginalized under the new regime even though they played a key role in the 2011 uprising.

The company that manages the Mellitah terminal is owned jointly by ENI and Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC). It supplies Italy with 17 million cubic metres of gas a day.

Don't miss a story about Italy – Join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Morandi bridge displaced to march on Genoa

Genoans made homeless by the collapse of the Morandi motorway bridge will protest for the first time on Monday, following reports that their emergency supplies funds could be blocked.

Morandi bridge displaced to march on Genoa
A view of the Morandi Bridge on August 15, 2018. Photo: Piero Cruciatti/AFP

The bridge collapsed during a storm on August 14th, killing 43 people and making hundreds more homeless.

The inhabitants of the so-called “Red Zone” near the bridge have been unable to re-enter their homes to collect their clothes and belongings.

A committee that represents the displaced had requested contributions of €10,000 per person from bridge operator Autostrade per l’Italia to supply their immediate needs.

Autostrade had responded that it would provide up to €15,000 per person, with the caveat that the funds would be administered through the government’s Regional Strategic Interventions Program, PRIS, which oversees major public works construction.

CCTV footage of the bridge's collapse

READ ALSO: Genoa residents left shattered after collapse of Morandi Bridge

But since the newly-published “Genoa Decree” which will govern the rebuilding of the area excludes Autostrade from participating in the reconstruction efforts, it is no longer guaranteed that the company will have any involvement with PRIS, putting the residents' funds at risk, reports La Stampa.

An ongoing investigation seeks to determine responsibility for the collapse of the bridge, which was built from reinforced concrete in the 1960’s and required numerous repairs over the following decades.

Autostrade insists that it met all its obligations in maintaining the bridge and is not implicated in the disaster.

But Italy’s government has made it clear that it considers Autostrade to bear the bulk of the responsibility for the tragedy, and has repeatedly said it intends to revoke the state’s contracts with the motorways operator.