Dozens of Iraqi protesters blocked the entrance to the Nassiriya oil refinery in southern Iraq for the fifth day in a row, a refinery source and a Reuters witness said.
The blockade caused fuel shortages across the southern province of Dhi Qar, with many petrol stations running dry and long queues at the few stations that were still open.
More than 200 unemployed university graduates who had a staged a weeks-long sit-in outside the refinery to demand jobs blocked the entrance and prevented employees from entering the building when the Iraqi parliament passed the budget on Wednesday without addressing their unemployment issue.
The province was unable to produce and refine crude oil and oil derivatives after the refinery’s closure, which has a maximum production capacity of 30,000 barrels per day (bpd), the refinery said in a statement without giving further details.
This “will cause fuel scarcity in the province... if the closure continues the movement of cars will stop completely,” the statement added.