Four Libyan oilfields – Bayda, Tibisti, Samah, and Waha – have closed and were evacuated over pending threat of militant attacks from Islamic State (ISIS), Al Arabiya reported.
“Four oilfields were evacuated in the oil basin in Merada, 800 km southeast of the capital Tripoli,” a military source said. The evacuation came after “the collapse of security and low daily production rate due to difficult security conditions”, said the source, who is part of a brigade protecting the oilfields that is loyal to the recognized parliament.
Further, workers of the fifth Zaltan oil field of Sirte Company for producing oil and gas, which is located 50 km to the south of Marada, have gone into a full strike due to deterioration of security inside the field and for fear of possible attacks. In a statement, the workers said they evacuated the field and stopped work upon low security in the oil fields that is located in the Marada and Zillah districts, some 300 km to the southeast of Sirte, The Libya Observer informed.
Islamic State militants have launched frequent attacks on Libyan oil fields and terminals in recent months, damaging facilities. The militants have not taken control of them until now, unlike in Syria and Iraq.
Mohamed al-Manfi, an oil official based in eastern Libya, said the Wafa field had been completely evacuated and the Tibesti and Bayda fields were partially evacuated after security forces warned of possible planned attacks.
Fighters loyal to ISIS were reported to have mobilized in Nawfiliyah, a town between the extremist group’s Libyan stronghold of Sirte and the oil ports of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf.
According to Press TV, earlier in April five members of the Petroleum Facilities Guard were killed in an attack by suspected ISIS militants near Bayda field, about 250 km south of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf. The guard is a semi-military force that controls many oil facilities in the east. In the latest assault the then-operating Tibisti oilfields were attacked, two guards were killed and two other went missing.