UK gas company Petrofac is threatening to leave Tunisia and end its investment if protests over jobs that have disrupted gas production for nine months are not stopped immediately, Reuters reported.

Since January, Petrofac has been forced to disrupt gas production in Tunisia because of sit-ins by people seeking jobs. Violent protests erupted and the army intervened to protect the company in Kerkennah Island in southern Tunisia, according to TVC News.

Energy Minister, Hela Cheikrouhou, said: “Petrofac officials told us they will be forced to declare force majeure and resort to international courts for their losses if the production will not return immediately,” as the company provides about 13% of Tunisia’s natural gas needs. Officials have declared that the importation of gas from Algeria to make up for the shortfall caused by Petrofac’s production disruptions has cost the government about $100m.

In related news, earlier September, Tunisia’s state-run phosphate companies announced an agreement to hire 2,800 new workers after protests over jobs halted production and threatened to stop exports, therefore protestors are hoping to pressure Petrofac in doing the same.