BP ‘gravely concerned’ about missing workers in Algeria

22 January 2013 23:47  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--BP’s group chief executive said on Tuesday that the company is “gravely concerned” about the welfare of four employees who remain unaccounted for following the conclusion of the In Amenas hostage crisis in Algeria.

Bob Dudley said the UK energy firm fears that there will be fatalities among the group still missing.

It is with great sadness that I now have to say that we fear the worst for them all,” Dudley said. “We are doing all we can to support their families and ask everyone to show them consideration and to respect their privacy.”

Four employees of BP and five workers of Norway’s Statoil in Algeria were still missing as of Tuesday evening, after the bloody conclusion to the hostage crisis at In Amenas gas field. Over the weekend, Algerian troops stormed the militant-occupied gas field, ending the hostage crisis of dozens of foreign workers – including Americans, British, Japanese, Norwegian and Romanians – with the death toll at 80, according to media reports.

Fourteen of BP’s 18 employees working at the gas field at the time of the attack have been confirmed safe and have left Algeria. In total, 43 BP staff from various locations across the north African country have left it over the past few days. BP is offering them assistance as required including medical, human resource (HR) and practical help, the company said.

The company's offices around the world will be holding a minute of silence on Wednesday as a mark of respect for those who lost their lives at In Amenas. BP also said it has sent personnel back to In Amenas to support efforts to gather confirmed information.

“The terrible events of last week have affected every one of us at BP deeply,” Dudley said. “Many of us have friends and colleagues, both in BP and in other companies, who have worked at In Amenas or in similar facilities. We are all thinking of our missing colleagues, those who endured the ordeal and their loved ones.

“We are mindful that many others – from partners, contractors and other companies – have died or remain unaccounted for. Our thoughts are also with their families, friends and loved ones at this time.”

The In Amenas gas field is jointly operated by Algerian state-owned Sonatrach, BP and Statoil. According to BP, the field is a large operation with a workforce at times of 500-700 people, the majority of them being Algerian nationals.

By: Jeremy Pafford
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