The Terrorist Threat to Liquefied Natural Gas: Fact or Fiction?
INSTITUTE FOR THE ANALYSIS OF GLOBAL SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
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On 14 February 2007, the Saudi Arabian arm of al-Qaeda put out a call to all religious militants to attack oil and natural gas sources around the world. Through such attacks, according to the call, al-Qaeda hopes to strangle the U.S. economy. Such proclamations give fodder to those who highlight the possibilities that liquefied natural gas LNG could be used as a lethal weapon of mass destruction. Industry officials on the other hand point out the improved security measures in place as a result of 911. with no solid conclusion. Proponents of natural gas are correct in that both safety and security measures currently in place make LNG terminals and ships extremely hard targets for terrorists. However, it would be imprudent to believe that terrorists are either incapable or unwilling to attack such targets. It would be equally imprudent to assume that these targets are impenetrable. If anything, in todays environment, insiders will always remain a potential threat. Few groups are capable of implementing an attack on LNG. However, an attack on LNG would fit well with al-Qaedas tactics, techniques and procedures. The most inherent problem with LNG is that despite scientists, scholars, officials and academicians conducting various high profile studies on the safety implications of LNG, too many unknown variables and unanswered questions still exist. Experts dont agree fully on safety boundaries. Empirical data demonstrating what would happen if there were to be an attack are virtually non-existent. Because of this uncertainty, members of the public remain adamantly opposed to bringing LNG with its foreign ships and crews into their backyards, perhaps rightly so. More studies are needed to bring about sound conclusions and ensure the greatest possible degree of public safety, as well as to ensure the security of an important commodity.
- Civil Defense
- Unconventional Warfare