Algeria’s In Amenas Gas Plant Returning to Normal After AttackSource: Reuters | 2 September 2014
A major gas plant in Algeria where 40 employees were killed by Islamist militants last year is returning to normal operations following a big step up in security, one of the plant’s operators said on 1 September.
Norway’s Statoil said the In Amenas plant, which accounted for about 11.5% of Algeria’s natural gas output before the attack, would return to full production in a few months.
Statoil had kept its permanent workers away from the plant, which it operates jointly with BP and Algeria’s Sonatrach, after gunmen raided the site deep in the Sahara desert in January 2013.
They took foreign workers hostage in a 4-day siege that ended when Algerian forces stormed the facility.
“The corporate executive committee has decided that ordinary rotation (of staff) is to be resumed at the plant as all defined security measures have been implemented,” Statoil said in a statement.
There is greater control of people coming near the installations, an airport has been built inside the site, and more barriers have been constructed around the site, Statoil told Reuters.
“The security has been boosted with a permanent military presence on the site, helicopters scanning the region, and the airport is ready to receive the expats who will no longer need to travel the 50 km (31 miles) from In Amenas’ airport to the base,” Bachir Benzergua, head of the union for workers at In Amenas, said.
He said there were already some expats working at the gas plant but that they spent the night at Hassi Messaoud’s oilfield base, some 310 miles away.
A second local source, who asked not to be named, said, “I don’t understand why (expats) they are not back yet, security is OK, and Algerian workers and technicians are making sure production is OK.”