Terror's Next Target
Attacks on the West's oil and gas infrastructure -- from production facilities to pipelines and tankers -- are likely to be the next "mega" target of terrorists, and could wreak havoc with the world's economy, according to an in-depth IAGS analysis of the susceptibility of the energy industry featured in the latest Journal of International Security Affairs (Winter 2004).
Minding Its Business
Saudi Arabia, which has demonstrated its willingness to use its vast oil reserves as a foreign policy tool, has not acted to aid U.S. efforts to rebuild Iraq.
Fencing in looters and saboteurs in Iraq
Too many people in and outside of Iraq are hoping to deny Iraq a better future through a campaign of sabotage and plunder of the country's neglected oil facilities. The problem, and possible solutions.
Energy security and liquefied natural gas
Demand for natural gas has increased as have the security vulnerabilities presented by liquefied natural gas terminals and tankers.
Under the Radar
Oil, terrorism and drugs intermingle in Colombia
Seventy U.S. Special Forces soldiers are training Colombians to protect an oil pipeline.
Japan's struggle to secure future oil supply
Energy dependent Japan looks to Iran for oil, causing tension with the U.S.
Chad-Cameroon pipeline project put to test
Will the pipeline, partially financed by the World Bank, improve the lot of Chad and Cameroon
or exacerbate existing corruption and strife?
Natural resource curse hits São Tomé
A tiny West African country illustrates a well known problem.
On the technology front
Fuel Cell Locomotive for Military and Commercial Railways
An international consortium is developing the world’s largest fuel cell vehicle, a 109 metric-ton, 1 MW locomotive.
Fuel cell power plant installed at NJ Sheraton
A stationary fuel cell will supply 250 kilowatts of electric power as well as heat to the Sheraton Edison
Hotel, accounting for about 25 percent of the hotel's electricity and hot water.
Fuel cell scooters for Europe and China
Palcan's fuel cell powered scooter is designed to address the world's need for a low-end mass transport vehicle.
U.S. Air Force
to get fuel cell bus
Fuel cell powered thirty-foot hybrid bus to be stationed at the Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii.
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Islamists threaten western energy companies in Algeria
Algerian security sources have recently warned that the terrorist organization Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC) will try to perpetuate attacks against western energy companies as well as other Western targets in Algeria during the coming presidential election period.
GSPC splintered off of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA,) an Islamic extremist group which aims to overthrow the secular Algerian regime and replace it with an Islamic state.
The GSPC is now regarded by terror experts as al Qaeda's main sub-contractor in North Africa and Western Europe. It has tentacles in neighboring Muslim countries such as Mali, Chad, Nigeria, Niger and Mauritania.
In 1998, the Salafi group was among the Islamic organizations inspired by Osama bin Laden's edict stating that every Muslim in any country was obligated to kill Americans and their allies - civilian and military - to purge unbelievers from the lands of Islam.
Since then the group received financial support from bin Laden. Another source of its funding is international crime. In testimony last July before Congress, Ronald Noble, Secretary General of Interpol, described how GSPC raises funds through a global network of credit card fraud, counterfeiting and pirating of goods for sale.
Dozens of members of the GSPC have been arrested in Europe since September 11. The organization is also active in the U.S. In 2003 four members of GSPC were indicted in the U.S. after being charged with being part of a "sleeper" terrorist cell planning attacks against landmarks in the U.S like Disneyland and the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. According to their indictment in Detroit, the four operated as a "covert underground support unit for terrorist attacks within and outside the U.S, as well as a 'sleeper' operational cell." They also are accused of giving covert support for the purpose of engaging in violent attacks against an American air base in Incirlik, Turkey, and a hospital in Amman, Jordan. The cell was involved in obtaining weapons, recruiting members, gathering intelligence and operating a support network for terrorist activity, according to the indictment.
In Algeria itself there have been in recent months several attacks by the Salafists against Westerners. Last year a group of European tourists was kidnapped in the southern Sahara. While some of the captives were freed by the Algerian military others were forced to march into Mali, where they were finally freed after the German government paid as much as $16 million in ransom. Another attack against a convoy transporting two French engineers working on a dam in Lakhdaria was aborted. Attacks against energy installations or companies could seriously damage the development of the country's energy sector.
Following a civil war whose toll surpassed 100,000 lives over the past 10 years Algeria now is experiencing a significant economic upturn, in large part aided by strong oil and natural gas export revenues. Algeria's proven oil reserves are estimated at 11.3 billion barrels, but the country is under explored and its recoverable oil resources may range as high as 43 billion barrels. Its average crude oil production during 2003 was around 1.2 mbd but this figure could grow significantly with billions of dollars into exploration and development efforts. The big question is whether Algeria's political climate will enable an investment climate sufficiently secure to attract energy companies to the country. Progress toward such investment could be disrupted by the Islamists who oppose modernization and economic development. As it is Algeria suffers from serious economic, social, and political problems, including rapid population growth, 30-40% unemployment, continued political violence by Islamic fundamentalists, labor unrest, a large black market (possibly 20% of the country's GDP) and continued weakness in the non-oil economy. The country also suffered a series of natural disasters including severe droughts, heavy flooding and a major earthquake last May. Like in other countries in the Middle East the fundamentalists are a stumbling block on the road to modernization and the outcome of the struggle between the forces of progress and the forces that resist it will determine the future of Algeria as well as that of the entire region.