June 21, 2013 / 4:00 PM / 6 years ago

Statoil sets up new security arm in response to Algeria attack

* More than doubles security staff in international division

* Names first head of security, emergency preparedness

* Statoil board to see internal inquiry report in mid-Sept

OSLO, June 21 (Reuters) - Norway’s Statoil has set up a separate division focused on security and emergency procedures in response to an attack in January on its gas plant in Algeria by Islamist militants.

The firm also said on Friday it had more than doubled the number of security staff in its international division compared with last year. It is also increasing security personnel in other divisions and has appointed Helga Nes, a long-standing Statoil official, as its first head of security, from July 1.

In January, Islamist gunmen had attacked the In Amenas plant in Algeria, jointly owned by Statoil, BP, and Algeria’s Sonatrach.

Since then Statoil has been conducting an internal inquiry into security at the facility.

“The appointment and the organisational changes are a part of a broader response from Statoil to the tragedy,” the firm said in a statement.

Statoil said it had reviewed security arrangements at the In Amenas gas plant in Algeria together with BP and Sonatrach.

“So far we are pleased with the progress, but we need to take the time necessary to complete all measures before a decision to return personnel can be taken,” it said.

The plant resumed partial production in February but with limited numbers of non-Algerian staff.

A report on Statoil’s internal inquiry into the attack will be presented to the company board in mid-September, after which it will be made public.

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