News / Africa

Africa's Energy Facilities Could Face More Sophisticated Attacks

Energy Facilities Could Face More Sophisticated Attacksi
X
February 08, 2013 10:55 PM
Oil prices jumped recently when terrorists launched a deadly attack on a major energy facility in Algeria. VOA’s Jim Randle reports that some experts believe more attacks are likely, and the weapons and tactics used probably will become more sophisticated.

Energy Facilities Could Face More Sophisticated Attacks

Oil prices jumped when terrorists launched a deadly attack on a major energy facility in Algeria recently. Some experts believe more attacks are likely, and the weapons and tactics used will probably become more sophisticated. 

Terrorists with links to al-Qaida stormed a gas production complex in Algeria in January. They wrecked equipment and took hostages. Government forces re-took the facility, but not before 37 hostages were killed.

Experts say energy facilities are targets because they are staffed by foreign engineers who can sometimes be exchanged for large ransoms, or bring attention to a cause. 

The threat is growing in the Middle East, according to energy expert Bernard Weinstein, of Maguire Energy Institute in Texas. He spoke via Skype.

"What is new is what appears to be a spurt of terrorist activity in the Maghreb of North Africa," he said.

Weinsten says a “risk premium” already boosts the cost of oil by up to ten percent. Risk affects costs throughout the process of producing, transporting and selling oil and gas. For example, workers demand higher wages for serving in dangerous areas, and insurance costs more.  Higher risks mean investors might not put assets into oil companies unless they are assured higher returns.

Violence, or the threat of violence, can suppress supplies, thereby raising the price.
 
Chris Faulkner, CEO of Breitling Oil, said the impact of future attacks could be devastating.

“The economic repercussions could be huge," said Faulkner. "If the needle moved five or eight dollars a barrel on oil, or if they had a major disruption in supply, and it went up by $50, that is going to cause prices at the pump of gasoline here to go up. It  is going to cause a panic in the economies and the markets, and they can cause significant damage."

Gal Luft, an energy expert, said cyber attacks are a growing concern for energy companies.

"As cyber terrorists realize the vulnerability, they may improve their technical sophistication and eventually develop capabilities that could wreak havoc in global oil and gas markets," said Luft.

So far, the most serious cyber attacks have been aimed at power grids  rather than at oil or gas production. Luft said, however, that could change.

Meantime, oil prices that spiked right after the Algeria attack remain high.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
February 09, 2013 10:01 PM
Linking oil prices to a natural gas extraction facility, in my opinion, is just another pretext for big oil companies to continue to raise prices. Between the oil companies and the financial institutions, it is no longer possible for many smaller organizations to stay in business, nor hire more employees; and the cost of living just continues to put families at risk of not being able to afford the basics of life. With the masive deposits of shale oil in the US, and in many other countries, the oil prices should be going down. In the past, the pretext of the oil prices going up, was the rapidly diminishing reserves. In many countries, were the oil industry has been nationalized or has always been state owned, the oil prices have gone down or remained significantly below world market prices, I will agree that many of those gvmts are nowhere as rich, or as profitable as some of the big oil companies. Oil prices have an impact on all commodities, they are a strategic asset, and a better way to manage them may need to be established, before we all face bankruptcy. Unafordable cost of living, for the basics, is driving many of the current global unrests and famine, that we observe.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid