Workers rescued from Algeria site suffered high stress - Statoil

18 January 2013 20:45  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The nine Statoil employees who have been rescued from the Algerian gas field hostage crisis “have experienced extreme stress”, the company said on Friday.

No new information was available on Friday afternoon about the eight other Statoil workers who are thought to still be held captive by militants who attacked and occupied the In Amenas gas field on 16 January, said Lars Christian Bacher, Statoil’s executive vice president of development and production international. Some 41 foreign nationals at the site are believed to have been taken hostage, including Statoil and BP employees.

The gas field is a joint venture made up of Statoil, UK’s BP and Algerian state-owned oil firm Sonatrach.

Of the nine Statoil employees rescued, five are on a plane back to Norway, and three from Algeria have arrived in Algiers and are being followed up by Statoil there. The other worker was evacuated from In Amenas on Friday, has received medical treatment and is en route to Norway by air ambulance, Bacher said.

Statoil has opened its assistance centre in Bergen, Norway, to help the families of the workers caught up in the hostage situation.

"I visited with the families earlier [Friday]. Those who still do not know the status of their loved ones are in an extremely difficult situation,” Bacher said. “We are doing everything we can to support them and provide all the information we can as it becomes available.”

News agency Reuters reported on Friday afternoon that reports on the number of hostages killed at the In Amenas site range from 12 to 30, with anywhere from dozens to scores of foreign nationals still unaccounted for.

The Algerian army launched an assault on the facility on Thursday in hopes of retaking it but was unsuccessful in freeing the hostages.

Reuters reported that Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said militants still controlled the gas treatment plant itself, while Algerian forces held the nearby residential compound that housed hundreds of workers.

By: Jeremy Pafford
+1 713 525 2653

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