01 September 2014, News Wires – Statoil is ready to resume ordinary operations at the In Amenas gas plant in Algeria following a deadly terrorist attack early last year that left dozens of people dead.
The Norwegian state-owned company said “all defined security measures have been implemented” at the plant in the south of the country, paving the way for a full-scale return of staff following the 16 January, 2013 assault.
Statoil had in June approved the temporary manning of the facility, having between the autumn of 2013 and early this year resumed ordinary operations at other facilities in Algeria.
That involved sending a contingent of 10 personnel on a temporary rotation – including both foreign nationals and Norwegians – to ensure the security of the facility about 18 months after the attack.
On Monday the company said: “Since the In Amenas attack, Statoil has worked systematically with its partners in Algeria with the aim of resuming ordinary operations in Algeria. The security improvements at In Amenas are also based on recommendations of the investigation conducted after the attack.
“In parallel with this work, the company has carried out a continuous and comprehensive improvement effort to enhance the general security work in Statoil. The goal of this programme is to achieve considerable improvements both with regard to awareness, organisation, systems and use of resources.
“Through the security improvement effort at the Algeria plants the joint venture has introduced physical security measures at all operating plants.
“The security work, both in Statoil and in the joint venture, has furthermore been reorganised, and the dialogue with Algerian authorities on securing of the plants has been improved. Algerian authorities have also initiated and introduced security measures beyond those implemented by the joint venture.”
Vice president for development & production international Lars Christian Bacher continued: “The decision to resume ordinary operations also at In Amenas is the result of a thorough and stepwise process of identifying necessary security measures, implementing them and validating that they are in place and operational.”
Five Statoil employees were among 40 workers killed after heavily-armed Islamist terrorists attacked the plant and took around 700 staff hostage, before Algerian forces stormed the facility to end a three-day stand-off.
Production from the three-train facility, operated by a joint venture of BP, Statoil and state-owned Sonatrach, was shut down in the wake of the assault but was earlier this year reported to be running at around 20 million cubic metres per day – two-thirds of its 30 MMcfd capacity – as work was being carried out to repair the third train that was damaged in the attack.
Statoil, which had 17 employees at the plant at the time of the attack, was criticised for having insufficient security measures in place and relaying too heavily on protection from the Algerian military in a report from an external investigation released last year.
The company, which evacuated its foreign staff from Algeria after the attack, resumed full operations earlier this year at the country’s In Salah gas plant, also run in a joint venture with BP and Sonatrach, while it is also working at the Hassi Mouina gas field.