HOUSTON - BP executives spoke about the deadly attacks in Algeria for 30 minutes Saturday morning during a telephone conference call.
"While the situation has evolved, it may still be some time before we have the clarity we all desire. While not confirmed, tragically we have grave fears that there may be one or more fatalities within this number," said Bob Dudley, chief executive of BP Group.
One of those fatalities is a man who lived in Katy, Texas. He's been identified as Frederick Buttaccio.
"Our focus remains on our colleagues who we have not yet been able to locate and on supporting their families through a time of agonizing uncertainty. BP is a company that cares about its people. This is a difficult and sad time for us all," said Dudley.
There were at least two other Texans who were at the natural gas plant when the terrorists took over, but they are safe, according to BP.
The US State Department is expected to provide more information Saturday afternoon.
BP released the following statement Saturday after the conference call:
BP today gave a further update on the situation at the In Amenas joint venture in Algeria and its response following the terrorist attack on the site early on Wednesday morning (16 January, 2013).
At the time of the attack there were 18 BP employees at In Amenas. To respect the privacy of these individuals and their families, we cannot comment on their identities at this time. BP has been in close touch with the families of each of these employees since the incident began, offering support and providing them with available confirmed information.
In addition to the BP employees, there were also a number of other personnel at the site contracted to the joint venture and other companies, many of whom have worked with and for BP for many years.
Over the past four days, BP's efforts have been focused on locating our people and ensuring their safety. Of our employees at the site, 14 are now confirmed safe and secure. Two have sustained injuries, but these are not life-threatening.
However, so far, neither the authorities on the ground, international governments nor BP have been able to confirm the location or status of four of our employees.
Bob Dudley, BP Group Chief Executive, said: "While the situation has evolved, it may still be some time before we have the clarity we all desire. While not confirmed, tragically we have grave fears that there may be one or more fatalities within this number.
"Our focus remains on our colleagues who we have not yet been able to locate and on supporting their families through a time of agonising uncertainty. BP is a company that cares about its people – this is a difficult and sad time for us all."
BP is doing everything it can to support the efforts to locate our employees, working with the relevant British and Algerian government authorities and agencies. As the situation evolves, it is hoped that access to reliable information will become more readily available.
BP is in direct contact with the families of all the BP employees to offer support and provide updates of confirmed information as it becomes available. Each family has their own liaison person from BP, telephone helpline support and offers of practical help. The UK police are also providing support to the families.
As news of the incident emerged, BP mobilised its full emergency response system, with teams on the ground in Algeria and in the UK managing its response. We are in close touch with the UK government and Statoil, Sonatrach, the Algerian energy ministry and the companies which are contracted to the joint venture. We have also offered support and co-operation to other companies in the response to the incident.
"We are very mindful that in addition to our BP staff, there are others – including colleagues who have worked with and for us for years and are part of BP's extended family - whose situation is also still unknown. We are also working with these companies to co-ordinate support for their staff," said Dudley.
BP is working through a staged process of bringing non-essential personnel out of Algeria. BP had around 56 employees in Algeria at the time of the attack. Many remain in the country to support the response to the incident, but more than 25 BP staff have now left Algeria among several hundred staff from other companies. This process will continue as necessary.
BP also worked to secure the medical support that could be needed in the response to the incident. This included extensive medical evacuation capability – working in co-ordination with suppliers, Statoil and the UK and Norwegian governments to ensure that medically-equipped and staffed aircraft of varying sizes and capabilities, ranging from large commercial size planes to mid-size jets, are available and deployed at locations in Europe to allow them to enter and leave Algeria as flexibly as possible. So far three medical aircraft have been utilised with at least a further eight on stand-by. We are also providing medical support for returning BP employees.
"I would like to specifically mention the help and support we have received from the UK government and authorities over these very difficult past few days. We have been in regular contact throughout and have received support from the highest level down," added Dudley. "We have also received support from the Algerian Minister of Energy, governments in the US, Norway and elsewhere."
· In Amenas is a joint venture gas project, owned and managed by a joint venture consisting of the Algerian state oil and gas company Sonatrach, Statoil and BP. It is located in the eastern central region of Algeria, about 60 km west of the Libyan border. Citizens of more than 25 countries work at In Amenas.
· It is a large operation with a significant workforce. At any one time there might be a workforce of 500-700 on the In Amenas site. The great majority of these are Algerian nationals working directly for the joint venture, and for Sonatrach and contracting companies. They are supported by a smaller international workforce, again from contractors but also from BP and Statoil.
· BP remains committed to operating in Algeria where it owns high quality assets and has been present for over 60 years.
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