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Statoil 'uncertain' about In Amenas crisis

Jan. 18, 2013 at 8:58 AM

STAVANGER, Norway, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Norwegian energy company Statoil said it was working to ensure it gets the remaining hostages out of Algeria after one employee came to safety late Thursday.

Algerian militants acting in support of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb stormed the In Amenas natural gas facility near the country's eastern border with Libya early this week. The raid was said to be a response to the multilateral military intervention under way in neighboring Mali.

BP, Statoil and state energy company Sonatrech are in charge of operations at the natural gas installation. Statoil, in an incident response update, said one person who came to safety last Thursday was getting medical treatment at a care facility on the installation's campus.

"The situation with our eight remaining employees at In Amenas remains uncertain," the company said in a statement. "Statoil is still working to retrieve additional employees out of Algeria."

BP, for its part, kept some of the details close in order to ensure the safety of its personnel. Some of the hostages and militants involved in the attack were killed. Western citizens are said to be among the hostages at In Amenas.

Sonatrach had no public comment on the incident.

BP started natural gas production at the facility in 2006. The company said production there was targeted at around 870 million cubic feet per day, making it the largest facility of its kind in Algeria.

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