Sept 13 Statoil missed warning signs
and failed to prepare for an incident like January's deadly
attack at an Algerian gas plant, an internal company probe said,
painting a picture of chronic security problems at the site.
Some 40 workers were killed when Islamist militants raided
the In Amenas facility deep in the Sahara desert, near the
Libyan border, taking foreign workers hostage in a four-day
siege that ended when Algerian forces stormed the plant.
BP and Algerian state firm Sonatrach are Statoil's
partners in the venture.
Below are highlights from the 78-page report:
External and internal security measures failed to protect
people at the site.
The Algerian military were unable to detect and prevent the
attackers from reaching the site.
Neither Statoil nor the joint venture could have prevented
the attack, but there is reason to question the extent of their
reliance on Algerian military protection.
Statoil's contribution to the overall emergency response was
effective and professional.
STATOIL'S APPROACH TO SECURITY:
Security is generally not well understood within Statoil's
leadership ranks, and as a result has not been prioritised,
resourced or managed properly.
POTENTIAL THREAT TO CHARTER FLIGHT IN 2011:
The U.S. embassy in Algeria warned of a missile threat
against aircraft flying to oil and gas plants, causing unease
among personnel at In Amenas. Some firms opted not to use the
regular charter flight between Gatwick and Hassi Messaoud.
The In Amenas joint venture continued to use the charter.
The decision was based partly on the view of the British embassy
which concluded: "the UK does not believe that this new threat
from AQIM (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) to target aircraft
poses either an imminent or credible threat".
JULY 2012 REPORT ON SECURITY IN ALGERIA:
A risk consultancy report commissioned by Statoil concluded:
the discovery in February of a weapons cache near the town of In
Amenas, the suicide bombing in March in the city of Tamanrasset
and a suicide bombing in June in Quargla indicated that security
conditions in the far south were expected to deteriorate. It
noted the potential for a one-off high-impact attack.
FAILURE OF IMAGINATION:
Although unforeseen and unprecedented, an attack on In
Amenas should not have been entirely inconceivable.
RELATIONSHIP WITH THE MILITARY:
The joint venture had incomplete information about the
capabilities of the military providing the outer security layer.
There was only a limited exchange of information. Furthermore,
there has not been any high-level strategic security dialogue
with Algerian authorities involving the companies.
SECURITY RISK MANAGEMENT:
Despite the turmoil in the region, the In Amenas joint
venture operated on an unchanged threat level from February 2012
until the attack.
JUNE-DECEMBER 2012 STRIKE AND INTERNAL THREAT:
The extended strike reduced internal security resilience and
eroded loyalty and morale among some employees.
The investigation team learned that there were direct
threats from the strikers toward expatriate employees at In
Amenas joint venture during this period.
Information from interviewees indicates that the terrorists
... knew which sites to drive to, which offices to target, and
they searched for a few people by name.
Some eyewitnesses perceived that a number of the employees
appeared forthcoming towards the terrorists during the first day
of the attack.
SECURITY AT THE PLANT:
There were two parallel security organisations operating at
the site, not always with a high degree of mutual respect, trust