LONDON--Four members of BP PLC's (BP) staff have most likely died in the terrorist attack last week on an Algerian gas plant, the company's chief executive said Friday, adding that the U.K. oil giant will learn lessons from the tragedy.
An attack by Islamist militants in Algeria's Sahara on the In Amenas gas plant--run by BP, Statoil ASA (STL.OS) and Algerian state oil company Sonatrach--left at least 37 foreign workers dead. The event highlighted a formidable new threat for oil companies investing in the region.
In an internal e-mail to staff, BP CEO Bob Dudley said "it is now clear that four of our colleagues in all likelihood lost their lives in the attack on the In Amenas joint venture." Over the weekend, he had said the company had feared "the worst" for them.
Using unusually harsh language, Mr. Dudley said the plant was "attacked by murderers on what should have been an ordinary working day. This was an appalling act of evil--a barbarous and pre-meditated criminal attack."
But he insisted BP would help governments investigate the tragedy as well as learn lessons to avoid it being repeated.
"Governments will also be conducting their enquiries. BP will participate fully and share what knowledge and insights we have," Mr. Dudley said. "We will ensure any lessons are applied to prevent such an outrage occurring again."
The e-mail also hinted that the tragedy could hurt staff morale.
"This has been a heavy blow for BP and I can imagine people across the company asking many questions," the CEO said in the e-mail. "I am very clear about where BP goes. We go on."
Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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