A rocket-propelled grenade hit a gas processing plant in Algeria Friday, March 18th.
Luckily, no injuries or damages resulted. Was this just a trial run?
[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]RELATED NEWS: Belgian Nuclear Power Plant Was ALSO a Target[/pullquote]
NY TIMES: BP and the Norwegian oil company Statoil announced on Monday that they were withdrawing their employees from two of Algeria’s largest natural gas fields after Islamic terrorists staged the second attack in three years on their installations.
In the assault, on Friday, a rocket-propelled grenade attack hit the In Salah natural gas field and processing plant in Krechba, 750 miles south of Algiers. BP, a British company, and Statoil operate the installation jointly with the Algerian national oil company Sonatrach.
The attack on the plant did not result in damage or casualties, according to the companies, and production was interrupted only briefly. The Algerian Army rushed to secure the area, but the episode highlighted the difficulty it has in defending the country’s oil and gas fields, which stretch across a wide swath of the Sahara.
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Al Qaeda’s North Africa affiliate, claimed responsibility soon after the attack on In Salah, Algeria’s third-largest gas field. In an online statement, the group said the assault was part of its “war on the interests of the crusaders.” The group also suggested that it aimed to protect the environment and discourage shale gas exploration.
Three years ago, a splinter Qaeda group attacked another gas facility at In Amenas, not far from the Libyan border. The same three oil companies operate that facility. Forty people were killed during a four-day siege then, and damages were so heavy that one processing plant remains out of operation.
The latest attack was far more modest than the 2013 assault, staged by only a handful of terrorists armed with simple weaponry.
“It was a limited attack,” said Geoff D. Porter, head of North Africa Risk Consulting, who is visiting Algeria. “It is a reflection of the limited capabilities that the group has in Algeria.” Nevertheless, Mr. Porter added: “It is going to have a dampening effect” on foreign investment.
Operations at both of the facilities from which BP and Statoil are withdrawing will be operated by Algerian personnel.
(Via NY Times)
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