Suspected Islamic State militants staged an attack on a power and water plant about 80km from the major Sarir oil field in eastern Libya, Reuters reported. Any threat to the Sarir area cause particular alarm because more than 50% of Libya’s remaining oil production comes from this territory.
Security forces foiled an attempted suicide car bombing by killing the driver, before engaging the attackers in clashes, a guard explained. No group immediately claimed the attack, but Islamic State fighters have previously targeted oil installations in Libya, stepping up their campaign against export terminals in the east of the country at the start of this year. The group has already caused extensive damage to country’s oil infrastructure, but has not taken over facilities or profited from them as it has in Iraq.
The UN Security Council said in a recent report that the terror group has significantly strengthened its foothold in Libya, voicing alarm about its attacks against Libyan oil installations as well as the massacre of Libyans, Press TV informed.
Five years after the start of the revolution that would lead to war against Gaddafi, Libya is in chaos. Libya remains divided between two governments, which are fighting for what remains of oil revenues. In this scenario, Islamic State militants have taken advantage of the security vacuum to establish a foothold in Libya, seizing Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte and launching attacks in several other cities.
Due to the intermittent conflict oil production has fallen to about 360,000b/d, less than 25% of its levels before the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Energy reporting service Platts reported Libyan oil production in February moved lower by 10,000b/d to 360,000b/d. The drop follows a deal brokered in December by the United Nations and rival governments that led to the January seating of a unity administration. Before civil war erupted, Libya, a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), was producing more than 1mb/d. Libya last communicated directly with OPEC in 2014 to report crude oil production of around 480,000bpd.