Libya beefs up oil security

Jan. 21, 2013 at 6:14 AM
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TRIPOLI, Libya, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- Libya expects its oil and natural gas sector will remain secure and fully operational despite regional security concerns, a senior security official said.

Militants aligned with al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula took a number of Westerners hostage last week in a raid on a natural gas installation in the remote desert area in eastern Algeria near the Libyan border.

A delegation led by Libyan General National Congress President Mohammed Magarief paid a visit to several of the country's oil and natural gas installations to survey the situation following last week's attacks, the Tripoli Post reports. The government said it's dispatched a special team of military guards to ensure the country's oil fields were secure.

Despite the severity of the Algerian hostage situation, a senior Libyan oil official who spoke with the newspaper on condition of anonymity said "even if the few foreign oil workers decided to leave the country, Libyan oil production levels will not be affected."

Libya oil production is close to its pre-war level of 1.6 million barrels per day. Last month, Italian energy company Eni said an $8 billion, 10-year commitment, was a sign of its growing confidence in Libyan reconstruction.

Since Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi died in late 2011, the country has ushered in a new government. Internal skirmishes and militancy has plagued the country's post-war recovery, however.

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