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BP and Statoil withdraw staff from Algerian plants after attack

22 March 2016

BP and Statoil will withdraw staff from two gas plants in Algeria after a terrorist attack on one of the joint sites the companies run with Algerian state hydrocarbon company Sonatrach on March 18. The rocket attack on the Krechba gas plant in In Salah caused no casualties or damage, and Al Qaeda's North Africa branch later claimed responsibility for the attack.

Stock image
Stock image

Algeria's energy infrastructure has been heavily protected by the army, especially since a 2013 attack on the In Amenas gas plant, also operated by BP and Statoil, during which 40 predominantly expatriate oil workers were killed.

"BP has decided to undertake a phased temporary relocation of all its staff from the In Salah Gas and In Amenas JVs in Algeria over the next two weeks. This decision has been taken as a precautionary measure," the British company said in a statement.

Statoil said it would also withdraw staff from the In Salah and In Amenas plants, together with staff from its operations centre at Hassi Messaoud.

"It will happen over the next few weeks. Those who are on rotation now will not be replaced when they finish their shifts," a spokesman for the Norwegian company said.

Sonatrach will maintain gas output after the BP and Statoil staff leave, the Algerian company said. The Krechba site produces 2 billion cubic metres of gas a year, and fields in the region of In Salah produce around 9 billion cubic metres.

An Algerian security source who did not want to be identified told Reuters on March 20 that four terrorists were killed and three others wounded by the army in In Salah. This group were thought to have been involved in the attack on the plant, he said.

The Algerian defence ministry has not yet confirmed the operation.

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