Algeria's In Amenas Gas Plant Returning to Normal after Attack


OSLO, Sept 1 (Reuters) – Normal operations are resuming at a major gas plant in Algeria, 18 months after a raid by Islamist militants killed forty employees, with full output expected in a few months, one of the plant's operators said on Monday.

Norway's Statoil had kept its permanent workers away from the In Amenas 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 four-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.

Security at the plant, which produced about 11.5 percent of Algeria's natural gas output before the attack, has been heightened, Statoil told Reuters. There is greater control of people coming near the installations and an airport has been built inside the site, it said.

A company investigation concluded last year the operators did not have the security measures necessary to deal with a major event.

"The investigative report pointed out that we relied too much on the presence of local forces," said Statoil spokesman Knut Rostad. "We have now an improved dialogue with Algerian security authorities and other authorities."


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