BP unsure of In Amenas restart date

BP is unsure when operations can resume at the attack-hit In Amenas facility in Algeria as confirmation of the fate of four of its colleagues remains elusive.

Over a week since a group of heavily-armed Islamist militants stormed the plant – jointly operated by BP, Statoil and state oil company Sonatrach – the exact death toll remains unconfirmed.

Despite Algerian Minister of Energy & Mines Youcey Yousfi saying shortly after military forces regained control of the site that it would be up and running again in a matter of days, a BP spokesperson said on Wednesday that operations had not restarted.

The company could not give any indication as to when operations may resume as it concentrates on confirming the fate of the remaining four of its 18 employees who were at the plant at the time of the attack.

On Tuesday evening chief executive Bob Dudley came as close as possible to confirming that all four had died, saying: “We have been gravely concerned for these colleagues and feared one or more fatalities among their number. It is with great sadness that I now have to say that we fear the worst for them all.”

Statoil also has yet to confirm the fate of five of its 17 employees, the other 12 having been brought to safety days ago.

A total of 37 foreigners were killed when jihadists aligning themselves with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb first ambushed two vehicles near the In Amenas plant before storming the site and taking scores of workers hostage. It is thought that around 11 Algerians were also killed along with 29 militants, with three attackers also taken alive.

BP staff at its global location were holding a minute’s silence on Wednesday as a mark of respect for all those who died in the attack.

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