Militants attack Algeria gas field; foreigners held hostage

17 January 2013 03:24  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Militants attacked a gas field in eastern Algeria, killing two and injuring four, and took hostages that include foreign nationals late on Wednesday, media reports said.

A total of 41 foreigners were held captive, including Americans, British, French and Japanese citizens, news agency CNN said, citing reports from the Mauritanian News Agency and Sahara Media that quoted an Islamist group claiming responsibility for the attack.

Other reports mentioned that other European nationals were also among the hostages.

The gas field, which is about 1,300km from Algiers and about 60km west of the Libyan border, is operated by a joint venture between Algeria’s national oil firm Sonatrach, UK’s BP and Norway’s Statoil.

Statoil issued a statement late on Wednesday, saying that 12 of its 17 employees who were at the gas field when it was attacked were unaccounted for, while five – four Norwegians and one Canadian – were brought to safety at a military camp in the area.

"The hostage situation at In Amenas is one of the most serious incidents we have had in Statoil," said Lars Christian Bacher, Statoil executive vice president for development and production international, in the statement.

Statoil said that emergency levels are raised its facilities in Algeria, and in certain other countries where the company operates following the incident at In Amenas.

BP, in a separate statement, said that the In Amenas gas field was attacked and occupied by unidentified armed people at about 0500 UK time.

“Contact with the site is extremely difficult, but we understand that armed individuals are still occupying the In Amenas operations site,” it said, adding that it has no confirmed information on the status of personnel at the site.

By: Pearl Bantillo
+65 6780 4359

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