At 19.20 Statoil executive vice president Lars Christian Bacher gave an update on the situation in Algeria to the press.
Lars Christian Bacher, executive vice president, Development & Production International
"Unfortunately, the situation remains unclear for eight of our employees following the terrorist attack on the In Amenas facility. We have received reports that a military operation by the Algerian authorities is still ongoing in the area.
This also restricts the flow of information and rescue efforts. In addition, there is still a hostage situation, and we must therefore be cautious as regards information, out of consideration to those involved," says Bacher.
The other nine Statoil employees who were involved in the incident have now been brought to safety.
"All of them have experienced extreme stress," says Bacher.
- One of the nine has been evacuated from In Amenas today, and has received medical treatment, and is now on the way back to Norway by air ambulance.
- The three employees from Algeria have arrived in Algiers and are being followed up by Statoil locally.
- The five employees who made it to safety early in the incident are on their way to Norway by plane.
Statoil's assistance centre for family members in Bergen is open for those who wish to utilise it.
"I visited with the families earlier today. Those who still do not know the status of their loved ones are in an extremely difficult situation. We are doing everything we can to support them and provide all the information we can as it becomes available," says Bacher.
All of the affected families have their own Statoil contact person, as well as access to professional health care and other assistance both from Statoil and the Norwegian authorities.
Norwegian health minister Jonas Gahr Støre also visited the families today. "I expressed our gratitude for the participation, help and assistance we have received from the Norwegian government and the public health care service over the last few days. This has been invaluable for us," says Bacher.
Our main focus now is to bring everyone home safe, and to take care of the local employees and all of the families. The emergency response organisation is therefore working on three priority tasks:
- Clarify the situation with the eight remaining employees in In Amenas together with the Norwegian authorities.
- Bring necessary resources, such as aircraft and medical equipment, as close to In Amenas as possible, so that rescue and evacuation can take place as efficiently as possible. We are working on several possible aircraft solutions, in addition to the two Norwegian aircraft that have already been mobilised.
- Continue to support the families.
"I must remind everyone that the situation is still unresolved, unclear and extremely serious," says Bacher.