Tunisia’s Employment Minister Imed Hammami on 16 June announced that a deal with protestors to end the sit-ins and blockades that had entirely shut in entire oil and gas output from the southern provinces of Tataouine and Kébili – half of the national total. But the extent to which output from fields operated by OMV, Eni and a host of smaller producers has actually restarted remains unclear.

What is clear is that the costs for Tunisia continue to mount. From being a net oil exporter as recently as 2010, domestic output fell to a mere 46% of demand for the first four months of 2017 (see table & chart 1). Were it not for the fall in oil prices the situation would be more dire still – indeed for gas, although output is also sharply down, and imports up, lower prices mean that Tunisia is receiving three times as much gas from Algeria in lieu of transit payments than in 2014; so paid-for volumes (also from Algeria) are down (see charts 2 & 3). (CONTINUED - 1468 WORDS)