Total Plans to Increase Security at Fields, CEO De Margerie Says

Total SA plans to increase security at its oil and gas fields in countries such as Algeria as a consequence of last week’s deadly hostage siege, Chief Executive Officer Christophe de Margerie said.

“It’s awful, what happened,” de Margerie said in a France 24 radio interview from Davos, Switzerland. “Of course this will have an impact. All those sites will have to be even more protected.”

The assault on the remote gas facility near In Amenas, Algeria, last week left at least 38 hostages dead, according to French officials. Militants of the al-Qaeda-linked al Mulathameen group claimed responsibility for the attack, which they said was a reaction to the deployment of French troops to stop jihadists taking over neighboring Mali. The group has said other attacks may follow.

The increased security won’t necessarily lead to higher oil prices, de Margerie said.

“It’s part of the global cost of energy,” he said.

The company has already begun intensifying security for expatriate employees in countries such as Algeria and Mali, moving them to more secure locations and in some cases even back to France, de Margerie said.

“We have to continue to work,” he added. “We have to be even more careful about their protection. Life is a priority.”

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