Will Libya’s Security Situation Drive Out Foreign Oil Companies?

By Rim al-Baraki from Al-Hayat, translated for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Libya Business News.

Some experts have expressed fears that Western oil companies operating in Libya will leave the country due to the growing concern and disappointment at the prevailing security conditions in the oil facilities, without any solution in sight.

An informed source told Al-Hayat that some Libyan militias have been calling on foreigners to leave the country through social networking sites, following the American operation that resulted in the arrest of an al-Qaeda member in Tripoli.

The source added that the Libyan government does not have what it takes to provide protection for oil facilities, because its military capabilities are limited to the so-called Libya Shield Force, which serves as armed group controlled by individuals from Misrata.

The Shield forces are not highly trained or organized enough to drive the armed groups out of the oil facilities they have taken over. Moreover, the bulk of these forces are from Misrata in western Libya, while the majority of the oil facilities are located in eastern Libya. This would ignite a war between the west and the east, which is what the government wants to avoid. Therefore, the source expects this situation to drag on.

The source confirmed to Al-Hayat what Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan hinted at following his release. Zeidan said that his abduction was an attempt at a coup d’état on the part of the Salafist movement in Libya. He said that there were about 100 vehicles and 300-400 gunmen involved in the abduction, which was supported by Salafists.

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