The connection between fossil fuels, armed conflict, and local energy security bubbled to the surface in several parts of Africa last year, according to a recap compiled by Rigzone.
“North Africa saw a significant portion of conflicts, with Libya and Algeria in particular experiencing a number of attacks,” the global oil and gas industry publication notes. The account begins with several attacks in the first three to four months of the year by Dai’ish (the so-called Islamic State) in Libya, leading to deaths, fires, and preventive evacuations at several oil facilities.
“Militant clashes like these helped stem the production of oil in the country to well below pre-2011 levels,” with the country’s oil output falling by up to 80% since then, Rigzone reports, citing senior consultant Ruth Lux with risk analysts JLT.
“Shedding some light on IS’ tactics and its assault on Libyan oil and gas facilities, Lux claims that these attacks were designed to ensure that the country remains a failed state and consequently vulnerable to further exploitation,” writes Rigzone Assistant European Editor Andreas Exarheas. “This goes against the group’s approach in Syria and Iraq, according to Lux, which revolved more around isolating and controlling energy facilities in order to generate revenue.”
The chronology covers attacks in Algeria by Al Qaeda’s North African branch, the continuing fight between the Niger Delta Avengers and the government of Nigeria, and separatist violence in Angola.
“The attacks on Nigeria’s energy infrastructure are sending shockwaves throughout the area, as the disruption in supply poses a significant threat to the economy,” Rigzone notes. Nigeria’s oil minister says oil production fell by nearly 40% in 2016, to 1.4 million barrels per day, and “these assaults were also having an effect on power supply in Benin, Togo, and Ghana, which rely on Nigerian gas supplied through the West African Gas Pipeline.”