When NATO decided to impose regime change in Libya, many nations in Europe had visions of a massive influx of oil imports from the Mediterranean coast, with several European companies, most predominantly Italy’s Eni, investing heavily in an oil industry which has only intermittently managed exports amid fighting.
Today, the fighting is picking up again, with the Islamist Benghazi Defense Brigade launching the latest attack against the main oil export terminals at Sidra and Ras Lanuf, capturing the area, and sparking a new round of fighting with Gen. Khalifa Hifter and his self-proclaimed Libyan National Army.
Hifter, a former CIA asset, had only captured the area himself a few months prior, expelling Petrol Guards loyal to the unity government from the area. The Petrol Guards were short-handed because they launched an offensive against the coastal city of Sirte.
US, British and French Ambassadors have urged calm in the area around the export site, citing concerns that the fighting could seriously damage the infrastructure and cut off exports for the long-term, until European companies pony up more money to repair it again.