Three Norwegians who worked at the In Amenas gas facility in Algeria were confirmed dead on Friday, with little hope left that two who are still unaccounted for survived last week's terrorist attack.
Oil and gas major Statoil ASA (STL.OS, STO) said that three of its employees--Tore Bech, 58, from Bergen, Thomas Snekkevik, 35, from Austrheim and Bergen, and Hans M. Bjone, 55, from Brandbu--had been found dead, and that the company remained deeply concerned for those still missing.
"Our thoughts are first and foremost with the families and close friends who have lost their loved ones in this horrific and senseless attack on innocent people," said Chief Executive Helge Lund.
Norway's Ministry of Foreign Affairs earlier Friday said it no longer believes there is hope that the remaining Norwegians will be found alive.
"There are still search operations going on, inside and outside the In Amenas facility, but unfortunately we no longer consider it likely that survivors will be found," said Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Svein Michelsen.
Algeria has said at least 37 foreigners were killed in the four-day siege of the facility, which began on Jan. 16. A team of forensic experts from Norway is working with Algerian authorities in the capital Algiers to identify bodies recovered after the attack.
The Norwegian victims were all employees of Statoil, which operates the gas field in a joint venture with BP PLC (BP, BP.LN) and Algerian state oil company Sonatrach.
Since Algerian forces ended the siege at the facility on Saturday, hope has diminished that the missing Norwegians may still be alive.
Mr. Lund and Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg have repeatedly urged citizens to be prepared for bad news.
"As Statoil has said, hope dwindles as time passes, and a number of days have now passed since the attack. Therefore it is now less likely that survivors will be found," said Mr. Michelsen. Mr. Stoltenberg met the U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron in Davos, Switzerland, on Friday. The two countries will cooperate to "prevent and handle future crises," Mr. Stoltenberg told Norwegian public broadcaster NRK, adding that the countries would also perform joint emergency response drills.
--Anna Molin contributed to this article.
Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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