Libya’s increasing oil exportations are beginning to raise eyebrows in Italy as authorities believe that the mafia is linking up with extremist groups loyal to the Islamic State group to smuggle crude oil from the Middle East into Italy.
As Libya has been in turmoil for the past six years, it was, along with Nigeria, exempted from the oil-cap, reached by OPEC and non-OPEC members in efforts to boost global oil prices.
In July, Libya’s exportation increased by 11%, when compared to June, as it shipped around 865,000 barrels per day based on the data provided by Bloomberg. Carsten Fritsch said the increase in productivity “hurts OPEC’s efforts to re-balance the oil market.”
Italian authorities are however concerned about the amount of shipments reaching their shores.
According to La Republica, the police had found substantial amounts of Libyan and Syrian crude that were greater than some local refineries’ inventories. Sources connected with the investigation said that crude “should not have been there.”
Authorities think that Italian mafias are cooperating with extremist groups relying on revenues generated from oil to finance their activities. The Islamic State group had boasted that it had penetrated Italy with analysts believing that some of its members reached the European country by travelling as illegal migrants from Libya.
Although there is yet to be concrete evidence to portray the connivance between the mafia and the extremist group in oil smuggling, the two sides are believed to have been cooperating in drug smuggling in the Sahara desert.