Statoil Natural Gas Field Attacked in Algeria
Statoil has reported that a facility serving its In Salah Gas project in Krechba, Algeria came under attack at 0600 hours local time on Friday.
The firm said that the attack was carried out by a vehicle and a mobile weapon firing explosives at the plant. The assailants then left the area; three strikes were identified at the plant, Statoil said.
No injuries were reported among the 600 employees at the plant. Of these, only three are employed directly by Statoil.
Statoil has not planned evaculations, and it says that it has demobilized its emergency reponse organization; Algerian military assets have control of the area.
In Salah is a partnership among Statoil, BP and Algerian state-owned oil and gas firm Sonatrach, the operator of Algeria's LNG export terminals.
Sonatrach said that the attack had not disrupted production at the facility.
In 2013, Statoil's In Amenas facility was attacked by an Al-Qaeda-linked organization, “Those Who Sign in Blood,” resulting in a four day hostage situation and siege. Algerian forces stormed the facility, killing 29 of 32 militants; about 40 workers, mostly foreigners, also lost their lives in the assault.
The militants said that they had carried out the action in retaliation for the French intervention in Mali.
Sonatrach's CEO was dismissed after the 2013 incident; Algeria's oil minister said that he had taken insufficient security precautions.
The Algerian military and police have increased their presence near gas installations since that attack, and a union representative at Sonatrach said that armed security contractors are now a regular presence.
Krechba is located about 750 miles south of Algiers, in the Sahara, a region that the U.S. strongly encourages American citizens to avoid.