Congress urges military to disrupt ISIS oil network

A bipartisan group of congressmen is urging the U.S. military to find ways to disrupt the oil production that helps fund the insurgent group ISIS.

U.S. Rep. Pete Olson, R-Sugar Land, along with five other Republicans and Democrats, introduced a bill Tuesday allowing the military to coordinate with the U.S. Department of Energy on finding ways to “hinder Islamic State oil production and cut off a main source of revenue for their terrorist activities.”

“In an age where energy is a precious commodity, their energy production not only funds crimes against humanity, but it also forms the means by which would-be ‘states’ like ISIS survive,” Olson said in a statement. “We must take every measure to cut off ISIS funding at the source.”

In December, the Los Angeles Times reported ISIS now controls approximately two-thirds of oil production in Syria, which analysts estimated at around 35,000 barrels a day. At current market prices, ISIS’s share of that oil is worth more than $900,000 a day.

A spokesman for Olson’s office said the congressman was interested in targeting not only ISIS production and distribution but the flow of drilling equipment and engineers into their fields.

The bill Tuesday also instructed the Energy Department to brief Congress on “on any opportunities to offset ISIS oil and gas.”