Wednesday morning Norwegian time, Statoil was notified of what it calls "a serious situation", involving an attack on the In Amenas gas production facility in Algeria. It confirms that two employees are slightly injured.
Statoil says the situation is the most difficult they have ever encountered, and that it is very complex. Unconfirmed reports say at least 10 Norwegian and more than 40 others were captured by the attackers, believed to be militant islamists from Mali, linked to al-Qaeda.
Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide called a press conference Wednesday afternoon, and Stoltenberg confirmed that 13 Norwegians were involved.
He said the departments involved had established a crisis staff which would work around the clock in their effort to work for the safety of those held at the plant. Stoltenberg agreed that the situation was complex, and did not want to comment on many of the unconfirmed reports. He also said Norway was in contact with the leaders of other nations involved.
According to BBC, two foreigners, including a British national have been killed in the atttack. Amenas is a wet gas field operated through a joint venture between Sonatrach, BP and Statoil. Statoil says its emergency response organisation is mobilised, and that they are now working to get an overview of the situation. - Our main focus is the safety of the employees at the facility, Statoil says in a press release. They says Algerian authorities are handling the situation locally, while Norwegian and British authorities have also been informed of the incident.
Statoil has just under 20 employees at the facility, and more than 10 of these are Norwegian.