Bloomberg reports that Libya is training former rebels to protect oil installations throughout the country.
National Oil Corporation (NOC) Chairman, Nuri Berruien [Nuri Balrwin] (pictured), told the news agency that the Ministry of Defence is training 10,339 citizens and militiamen who took part in last year's revolution. They will join an existing force of 2,500 security workers by the end of the year.
“All our terminals and fields are secure but there are some skirmishes in remote areas,” Berruien said. “Traveling between fields can be complicated.”
“Protecting the petroleum installations is a national priority, as our economy depends on it,” Sadeeq Mabruk Al Obeidi, the deputy defense minister told a news conference in Tripoli.
The ministry has spent 150 million dinars ($120 million) in the last eight months to reform border patrol units and train guards for energy installations, he said. “We are increasing our border patrol battalions from four to 12 and the border guards unit will be an independent body reporting directly to the minister of defense, and not the chief of staff.”
The government banned overseas security companies from entering the country in May, but according to Optimal Risk, a British security company that is also involved in the training program, oil companies may be reluctant to use local services.
Robert Shaw, a director at Optimal Risk, told Bloomberg that some foreign security companies were exaggerating the risks to justify charging very high fees. “We are not in a war zone”, he said.