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Statoil begins probe into Algeria terrorist attack

BY KJETIL MALKENES HOVLAND

OSLO -- Statoil began an investigation into January' s attack at the In Amenas gas plant in Algeria, in which five of its employees were killed, and said the team would report in September.

"We will investigate to determine the chain of events before, during and after the terrorist attack" said Statoil Chairman Svein Rennemo. "It has been important for us to obtain external expertise on terrorism and security."

The In Amenas plant, jointly operated by Statoil, BP and Sonatrach, was attacked in January. It took Algerian forces several days to fight the attackers and weeks to confirm the identity of the deceased. In total, 40 people were killed and 12 Statoil employees survived.

"The terrorists, and no one else, are responsible for the attack. They stand guilty of causing all the anguish and suffering" said Mr. Rennemo. "Our responsibility is to learn, and do what we can to further strengthen the safety of our employees for the future."

The investigation will evaluate Statoil' s risk assessments and emergency preparations, as well as the security arrangements at In Amenas prior to the attack. The company' s procedures after the attack will also be examined.

The investigation team is to be led by Torgeir Hagen, the former head of the Norwegian Intelligence Service (NIS), Statoil said. Mr. Hagen was also a member of the government-appointed July 2011 Commission, which last year harshly criticized Norway' s emergency preparations following 2011' s bomb attack in Oslo that killed eight people and the subsequent shooting spree at the Utoya youth camp, which left 69 people dead.

Statoil' s team also includes Adrian Fulcher, a former director of counter terrorism in the British Diplomatic Service, Leif D. Riis in the Norwegian Defense Estates Agency (NDEA), and three Statoil employees. A group of external security experts have also been appointed to assist the investigation team, Statoil said.

Dow Jones Newswires

02/26/2013

 

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