By Libya Herald reporters.
Tripoli and Benghazi, 5 January 2016:
The National Oil Company in Tripoli has begged for help as IS terrorists . . .[restrict]shelled the Sidra oil export terminal for a second day, damaging pipework and at least one tank which contained no crude oil.
In a web page post titled “A Cry for Help”, the NOC said that it was helpless to stop the destruction in Sidra which followed yesterday’s firing of an oil tank at Ras Lanuf. It is not clear that the NOC made a similar plea when Libya Dawn forces tried and failed last year to wrest control of the export terminals in Operation Sunrise.
Nor is it clear to whom the NOC is appealing to stop the devastation of yet more of the country’s badly-maintained and regularly-smashed oil and gas infrastructure. In this respect, the IS shelling of Sidra with heavy weapons seems relatively unexceptional.
The terrorist assault that began yesterday with two suicide bombings appears to have been repulsed by members of the Petroleum Facilities’ Guard loyal to federalist leader Ibrahim Jadhran.
In a conflict with few fixed front lines, the terrorists appear able to move at will around positions which are nominally held by its opponents. The pressure on the terminals to the west, Sidra, Ras Lanuf, Brega and Zuetina, may be part of a larger plan to move the IS territorial hold to south of Benghazi, interdicting the direct road route to Tobruk. [/restrict]