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Kerkennah employment protests, Tunisia

The Island of Kerkennah has been the scene of increasing protests against British oil and gas company Petrofac in recent months. The protesters are demanding that Petrofac honour its engagements in local development and employment creation.


Kerkennah is an archipelago in the Gulf of Gabes around 20km from the city of Sfax. The islands are dependent on fishing and agriculture (1).

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Kerkennah employment protests, Tunisia
State or province:Gulf of Gabès
Location of conflict:Kerkennah
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Other
Oil and gas refining
Specific commodities:Natural Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project details

In 2008, The Chergui field central production facility was handling 20 million standard cubic feet per day.

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Level of Investment for the conflictive project100,000,000
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:Kerkennah island population, unemployed graduates
Start of the conflict:01/01/2011
Company names or state enterprises:Petrofac from United Kingdom - Petrofac paid $30 million to acquire a 45-percent stake in Kerkennah’s Chergui gas field. The remaining 55 percent is held by Tunisia’s national oil company Entreprise Tunisienne d’Activitées Pétrolières (ETAP).
Entreprise Tunisienne D’Activitiés Pétrolières (ETAP) from Tunisia - Entreprise Tunisienne D’Activitiés Pétrolières (ETAP), the Tunisian state oil company, holds 55% of the stake in the gas field.
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Industrial workers
Informal workers
Social movements
Unemployed graduates
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Development of a network/collective action
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Health ImpactsPotential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Militarization and increased police presence
Other socio-economic impactsNo economic redistribution
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Withdrawal of company/investment
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The protesters have made 'business as usual' impossible for Petrofac, and have undoubtedly forced the company to hear their demands.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[1]. Julie Al-Zoubi (2016). Gas Company’s Olive Oil Press Fails to Ease Tensions on Tunisian Island. Olive Oil Times. December 6, 2016
[click to view]

[2] Petrofac (2006). Investment in Tunisian Interest. 09 November 2006.
[click to view]

[3] Hamza Hamouchene (2016). Kerkennah: on the frontline of resistance to the fossil fuel industry in Tunisia. Open Democracy. 4 June 2016.
[click to view]

[4] Laryssa Chomiak (2016). The revolution in Tunisia continues. Middle East Institute. 22 September 2016.
[click to view]

EBRD (2015). Associated gas utilization report for Tunisia.
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Platform London
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:2686
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