The four men are employees of Bonatti, an engineering and construction firm that services the oil, gas and power industries. They were seized by unknown assailants as they were traveling to the area from the Tunisian border.
The Farnesina reports that its crisis unit is monitoring the case, and remains in direct contact with the men’s families and Bonatti. The Farnesina has been urging all Italian nationals to leave Libya, many have not complied.
The Mellitah oil and gas complex is run by Italy’s Eni and the Libyan national oil company. It’s located 60 miles west of Tripoli and includes one of the largest gas treatment plants in the world, handling oil and gas from the Wafa Desert field and the Sabratha offshore platform. Tunisia officials say that Sabratha hosts an Islamic State base which trained Sousse attacker, Seifeddine Rezgui who killed 38 tourists last month, and two gunmen who killed 22 tourists in March.
Eni is the only big oil company to maintain a presence in the war-torn areas, even as security risks prevail.
Last week a dozen people died in a crude oil pipeline explosion in Niger Delta. Eni has committed to expand its footprint in the Nigerian oil and gas sector despite political and safety concerns.