Ivory Coast's 80,000 barrel per day SIR refinery is operating at a minimum and is struggling to secure crude oil due to European sanctions aimed at forcing incumbent Laurent Gbagbo from power, a spokesman said on Friday.

The refinery, which also serves a number of neighbouring countries, has been targeted by the EU to prevent Gbagbo from clinging onto power after an election that U.N.-certified election results showed his rival Alassane Ouattara won.

A number of units have been temporarily closed but the main production unit is still working at a minimum, Karamoko Tahirou said, without giving any figures for current output.

There are disruptions in our supplies of crude ... We are working to find a solution, he added, directly blaming the EU sanctions for the disruptions.

Gun battles raged overnight in an Abidjan neighbourhood as insurgents moved against Ggbagbo, and there have been reports of fighting in at least two other parts of the world's top cocoa-grower.

The head of Ivory Coast's state oil company told Reuters on January 21 that the EU sanctions could hurt the 40,000-barrel-per-day oil sector and may shut down the refinery within months.

The refinery is one of a number of institutions and senior civilian and military figures to be targeted by the EU, which along with other Western and African organisations, is trying to force Gbagbo to step down after the U.N.-monitored poll.

The November 28 election was meant to cap years of peace talks and transitional government following a 2002-3 war, but instead it looks increasingly likely to be leading to renewed conflict in a country with the largest economy in the West African CFA franc zone.