Statoil, BP Gas Facility in Algeria Hit by Rocket Attack

  • Statoil says no indications of injuries, staff are safe
  • Attack occurs 3 years after In Amenas assault that killed 40

Statoil ASA and BP Plc said no one was hurt in a rocket attack on a gas facility they run in Krechba, Algeria.

The central processing plant has been shut down as a safety precaution and all its staff in Algeria have been accounted for, BP said in an e-mailed statement on Friday. Statoil said it has been in contact with its three employees at the Krechba facility and all are unharmed.

Two people fired home-made rockets at the plant about 6 a.m. local time, state-run Algeria Press Service reported, citing an unidentified person. The assault did not cause any material damage and security forces are still tracking the two attackers, the report said.

The assault, which targeted facilities at the In Salah gas fields, occurred three years after a deadly attack by Islamist militants linked to Al Qaeda against the In Amenas gas plant, operated by Statoil, BP and Algeria’s state-owned Sonatrach. Forty people were killed, including 38 foreign workers.

The attack underlines the deteriorating security situation across North Africa, said Richard Mallinson, an analyst at Energy Aspects Ltd.

“Algeria faces both Islamic State along the long border with Libya and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb,” which has experienced a revival in recent months with attacks on soft targets in Mali and Burkina Faso, Mallinson said by e-mail. “Energy infrastructure is generally located in remote regions and well guarded, but as IS and other militant groups gather strength, oil and gas facilities could still be vulnerable to a sophisticated attack.”

Statoil said last month that the In Salah joint venture had started production at the Southern Fields development, which will maintain total natural gas production from the project at about 9 billion cubic meters a year. The company has mobilized its emergency preparedness and is working to get a full overview of the situation.

About 600 workers were present at the site, Statoil spokesman Baard Glad Pedersen said by phone. He couldn’t say how long production would remain halted.

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