The International News Safety Institute — which looks into security issues for journalists traveling through hostile countries — was alerted by "credible sources" that terrorist groups may be planning attacks on oil fields in Libya. The organization added that the warning it received considered Benghazi a likely target, given the large number of oil fields in the western port city.
INSI's advisory came as the U.S. and British government issued similar warning for citizens remaining in Libya.
"We are aware of a specific, imminent threat to Westerners in Benghazi," a warning from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office read. "We advise against all travel to Benghazi and urge any British nationals who are there against our advice to leave immediately."
In mid-January, a faction of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb stormed the In Amenas natural gas facility in eastern Algeria. That raid left several hostages and foreign fighters dead. Sources close to militant groups in Libya said the Algerian attack had the logistical support of Islamic fighters who traveled across the western border.
For post-war Libya, oil and natural gas makes up nearly all of the country's export revenues, and about 80 percent of all government revenues.
The government in response to renewed al-Qaeda tensions and a high level of violence in Benghazi ordered a petroleum security team on high alert.
In Algeria, the military there wasted no time, and gave no quarter, when al-Qaeda stormed its energy interests. Oil and natural gas accounts for about 98 percent of the country's exports, prompting the IMF in 2011 to warn that the government needed to take action to diversify its economy.