Guards at southern Libyan oil field force shutdown in protest over back pay

A Libyan gas company official says guards at a southern oil field have shut down the facility in protest over back pay and are demanding better living conditions.

The official from the Mellitah Oil and Gas complex said on Friday that 45 guards forced the closure of the Elephant field the previous day. It's located about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) southwest of Tripoli.

The field produces 74,000 barrels a day. Libya produces 1.6 million barrels a day.

The official says the guards gave authorities 10 days to meet their demands. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The guards also demand the state-run National Oil Corporation open a branch in the south and give their tribesmen priority when hiring workers.