Terrorism spikes in 2016 with global political violence at its highest level for three years

Oliver Gill
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Oil and gas firms are at most risk from terrorism attacks, experts said (Source: Getty)

Global terrorism attacks spiked in 2016 with oil and gas firms the victim of nearly half of all commercial interest strikes.

Worldwide attacks numbered 4,151 last year, up from 3,633 in 2015, according to research prepared insurance and risk management firm Aon in conjunction Roubini Global Economics and the Risk Advisory Group.

The report concluded the terrorism threat is evolving and impacting a wider number of countries with attackers employing "more diversified tactics".

Global political violence is also at its highest level since 2013, the report found.

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(Source: Risk Maps – Aon's guide to political risk terrorism and political violence)

Strikes on western countries rocketed by 174 per cent with 96 attacks in 2016. Henry Wilkinson, the head of intelligence and analysis at Risk Advisory said:

Global politics in 2017 is moving in a more violent and crisis-prone direction. The balance of violent risks is starting to tilt from non-state actors back to states.

"Islamic State- and Al-Qaeda-linked terrorism remains a critical threat, threatening dozens of countries and key sectors, including oil and gas, aviation, tourism, retail and media."

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Where it's got worse

Where it's got better

2017 Terrorism & Political Violence score deteriorations 2017 Terrorism & Political Violence score improvements
Albania Bahrain
Austria Bosnia&Herzegovina
Colombia Chad
Côted'Ivoire Comoros
The Gambia Gabon
Germany Ghana
Kazakhstan Nepal
Kenya Niger
Malaysia Slovakia
Panama Turkmenistan
United Kingdom
United States

Source: Risk Maps – Aon's guide to political riskm terrorism and political violence

Some 41 per cent of attacks on companies were in the oil and gas sector.

Oil production in Nigeria fell by 36 per cent in the first half of 2016 and this was caused by militant attacks in the Niger Delta. Nigeria and Columbia were the worst targeted countries in the energy sector.

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“The shifting dynamics around terrorism and political violence, reflected in the global events seen in 2016, are presenting an increasing challenge for companies," said Scott Bolton, a director of crisis management at Aon Risk Solutions.

"Those with both domestic and international footprints have the potential to experience events that could impact their people, operations and assets."

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