Stoltenberg: attack 'threat to energy security’

The attack on an Algerian gas facility by militant jihadists which resulted in the deaths of over 50 workers is “a threat to global energy security”, Norway’s Prime Minister has said.

(Read our full coverage on the crisis at In Amenas here.)

The bloody assault at In Amenas is without precedent in the industry in living memory, the chief executive of Norwegian state oil giant Statoil also said.

Some 58 workers comprising 37 foreigners are now thought to have been killed following the storming of the gas plant early on Wednesday morning which led to a days-long hostage crisis, brought to an end on Saturday amid considerable bloodshed.

In Amenas is jointly operated by Statoil, UK supermajor BP and state oil company Sonatrach, with the Norwegian major reporting that five of its 17 staff who were at the site at the time remain missing and are feared dead.

Addressing a large gathering in Stavanger on Monday, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said: “The crisis in Algeria is the worst attack on Norwegian commercial interests outside of Norway.”

He continued: “It is a threat to global energy security,” which, amongst other reasons, necessitated a collaborative international effort to confront terrorist groups.

“This time is was Algeria; the next time the terrorists may strike Norway or some other country.”

Addressing the same gathering, Statoil chief executive Helge Lund spoke of a “difficult and demanding time” for the oil major.

“The attack at In Amenas is terrorism of the worst kind,” he said, also branding it “the worst attack on Statoil and the whole oil & gas industry in living memory”.

Statoil and other companies await confirmation on the fate of employees as yet unaccounted for. Algeria’s Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal said on Monday that 37 foreigners died in the incident while 29 militants had been killed and three taken into custody. One Canadian national was amongst the militants who also hailed variously from Algeria, Mali, Niger, Mauritania, Egypt and Tunisia.

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