Tunisia’s largest natural gas field, which started production earlier this year, was taken offline as workers walked out in protest against job cuts.
The halt of the Nawara field, a venture with Austria’s OMV AG, shuts in current output of about 1.4 million cubic meters a day.
The workers are protesting the firing of 23 of their colleagues, said Mohammed Borni Khmila, secretary-general of the General Federation of Petroleum and Chemicals, which is affiliated with the country’s largest labor union. The strike, which is also affecting other OMV facilities, is set to end Friday but further action could take place if the workers aren’t reinstated, he said.
Tunisia began production from the Nawara deposit in February in the hope that it would help slash its energy import bill. The field has a maximum production capacity of 2.7 million cubic meters a day.
Efforts by the Energy Ministry to broker an agreement between OMV and the union have so far failed, Hazem Yahyaoui, the ministry’s director-general of hydrocarbons, said by phone.