Energy firm Petrofac has resumed gas production at its gas plant in Tunisia after a stoppage of several months, according to the company and a trade union.
UGTT Trade Union Secretary General Abdelhadi Ben Jemaa said that natural gas from the Chergui field had been transported through the pipeline to Sfax. This information was confirmed by Petrofac, which said that work had re-started after several months of closure at the Chergui gas field located on Kerkennah Island, which is southeast of the country.
In September 2016, the Tunisian Government said that Petrofac would be pulling out of the country due to labour disputes that had stopped its operations at the Chergui gas field since the beginning of 2016.
However, a few days later, the Government announced that the oil and gas contractor and the trade union had come to an understanding.
Towards the end of 2016, though, Petrofac called for a technical shutdown after protesters demanded permanent jobs. The protesters also blocked the roads being used by Petrofac as they demanded more development projects in the area.
Cause of gas production stoppage
Early in 2016, a Petrofac-funded programme to provide employment to educated youth in the region came to an end. These graduates were provided work via the programme but without company benefits or permanent contracts.
At the time that the programme was stopped, Petrofac had asked the Government to take it over as it was no longer able to fund it. This led to massive protests and demonstrations, bringing production to a standstill.
Ben Jemaa revealed that the port of Sidi Fraj located in Kerkennah had been developed, and this allowed Petrofac to resume its operations while avoiding the port of Sidi Youssef, which the protesters have blocked.