Dictionary of Terrorism

By John Richard Thackrah | Go to book overview

O

Oil and Gas Industry Security

The industry is a tempting target for the terrorist seeking media publicity or financial gain. In oil/ gas exploration where the likelihood of success is felt to be sufficiently high then the presence of terrorists or guerrilla groups will not necessarily deter the company from conducting the exploration. In Algeria the Armed Islamic group has been targeting foreigners who have been employed by the oil and gas industry.

If any of the industries employees are kidnapped terrorists have quickly realised that the foreign company sees itself as morally responsible for its local work force and will pay for their release (Jane's Information, 1997). If the ransoms are small the government will make no attempt to apprehend the kidnappers and the oil company in order to retain its good relationship with the government will not press the issue (Jane's Information, 1997).

Terrorists have cut supply lines to remote drilling rigs for example in Colombia, and this has delayed production especially if pipe lines are fractured by explosives. Liquefied natural gas plants have been attacked in Pakistan and Indonesia. In 1994 the IRA failed in their attempt to destroy a British Gas complex in Warrington, Cheshire and in Louisiana, USA, in 1992 a local militant group ruptured a gas pipe line. In 1995, in Germany, environmental militants attacked petrol stations belonging to Shell as part of the 'Brent Spar' protest.

Terrorists are aware that delays while drilling cost money and closing a rig by threat of force places them in a position to extract payments from the company.

The world is still so dependent on oil that the industry will press on regardless with production whatever the risks within manageable proportions.

In April 2003 one of the worst fears of the industry was realised when a hundred oil workers were held hostage aboard offshore installations off the coast of Nigeria by striking Nigerian workers complaining about redundancies and unfair dismissal of Nigerian staff. The hostages included over twenty Americans and over thirty British personnel.


References
Jane's Terrorism: A Global Survey (1997), London: Jane's Information Group.
Stephens, M. M. (1979) 'The Oil and Gas Industries: A Political Target of Terrorists' in Kupperman, R. H. and Trent, D. M. (eds) Terrorism, Threat, Reality and Response, Stanford, CA : Hoover Institution Press, 1979.

Further Reading
Breemer, J. S. (1983) 'Offshore Energy Terrorism: Perspectives on a Problem', Terrorism, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 455-468.
Jenkins, B. M. (1988) 'Potential Threats to Offshore Platforms', TVI Report, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 1-10.

Oklahoma Bombing 1995

In April 1995 the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was bombed by

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Dictionary of Terrorism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface and Acknowledgements vi
  • Introduction viii
  • Abbreviations and Acronyms xii
  • Glossary xviii
  • A 1
  • B 23
  • C 32
  • D 62
  • E 82
  • F 97
  • G 103
  • H 112
  • I 126
  • J 147
  • K 151
  • L 156
  • M 164
  • N 177
  • O 185
  • P 191
  • R 220
  • S 229
  • T 256
  • U 277
  • V 293
  • W 296
  • Z 304
  • Films and Documentaries 305
  • Terrorism - A Historical Timeline 309
  • Index 311
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