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Publication of the investigation report on the In Amenas terrorist attack

September 12, 2013, 13:00 CEST

The investigation team visited the In Amenas plant on 16 April.

Forty innocent people were killed, including five Statoil employees, in the brutal terrorist attack on In Amenas 16 January.


Investigation leader Torgeir Hagen

There were almost 800 people at the plant when the attack occurred.

"The terror attack against In Amenas was an unprecedented attack. It clearly demonstrates that also companies like Statoil today face serious security threats," says investigation leader Torgeir Hagen.

The main objectives of the investigation were to clarify the chain of events and to facilitate learning and further improvements within risk assessment, security and emergency preparedness.

The main conclusions of the investigation are:
On the attack:

  • The sum of outer and inner security measures failed to protect the people at the site from the attack on  In Amenas on 16 January.  The Algerian military were not able to detect or prevent the attackers from reaching the site. Security measures at the site were not constructed to withstand or delay an attack of this scale, and relied on military protection working effectively.
  • 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. Neither of them conceived of a scenario where a large force of armed attackers reached the facility.
  • The joint venture incident management team led the civilian crisis response, supported by Sonatrach and many other agencies on the ground. Statoil's contribution to the overall emergency response was effective and professional. The investigation team has not identified areas where a different response by Statoil could have changed the outcome.

On security in Statoil:

  • Statoil has established a security risk management system, but the company's overall capabilities and culture must be strengthened to respond to the security risks associated with operations in volatile and complex environments.

Svein Rennemo, chair of the Statoil board

"The board has received a thorough and critical report with clear recommendations. It clearly shows that this was a brutal and vicious terrorist attack. Our deep sympathy remains with the families of the victims," says Svein Rennemo, chair of the Statoil board.

"The report provides the basis for learning that we requested. And the report supports and underpins the necessity of the improvement efforts initiated in the company. We will see a broad-scale strengthening of Statoil's organisation, systems and practice within security," Rennemo says.

The report gives 19 recommendations within the areas of security at In Amenas and other facilities in Algeria, organisation and capabilities, security risk management systems, emergency preparedness and response, and cooperation and networks.


Chief executive Helge Lund

"The attack was a tragedy for those affected, and a dramatic incident in Statoil's history. The report reflects the seriousness of the incident. The report points out areas within our security work that require improvements and increased focus. It is my and our management's duty and responsibility to ensure that we exploit the knowledge provided by the report to strengthen our security efforts and establish a clearer security culture across the company," says Helge Lund, Statoil's chief executive officer.

The company will now ensure that the recommendations are integrated and a prioritized part of the initiated improvement programme in the security area. The board of directors has endorsed the improvement programme, and will continuously follow up programme implementation and consider the need for further measures.


The investigation team consists of Erling Kristian Handal (left), Adrian Fulcher, Randi Grung-Olsen, Leif D. Riis, Torgeir Hagen (head of the team) and James Bunn. Pål Eitrheim (right) heads the secretariat for the In Amenas investigation. (Photo: Ivar Langvik/Statoil)

The programme contains actions to ensure that the organisation adapts to an ever-changing threat scenario.

  • Strengthen management, skills and capacity within risk analysis, security evaluation and security work.
  • Improve management systems and work processes within safety and security.
  • Closer integration of work related to physical, personnel and IT security
  • More training and increased standardization within emergency preparedness
  • Strengthened cooperation with public authorities, in Norway and abroad, and in the industry's own networks and organisations within areas such as intelligence, safety and security analysis and actions.

The investigation team has conducted 136 interviews and a series of meetings with relevant external and internal players. The investigation team has visited Algeria and In Amenas, and has met representatives of government authorities in the Algeria, Canada,Japan, Norway, UK and the US. The team has also held regular meetings with Statoil employees working in In Amenas.

"Although there are areas in which we have not found all answers, and where the ongoing criminal investigations will provide more information, I think we can give a good description of what happened at In Amenas between 16 and 19 January. We are positive that we have a solid basis for answering the question as to what Statoil can learn from this," says Hagen.

Appointed by the Statoil ASA board on 26 February 2013 the investigation team has been headed by Torgeir Hagen.

Hagen is a retired Lieutenant General and was the head of the Norwegian Intelligence Service from 2002 until 2010. He has broad international experience and was a member of the 22 July Commission.

In addition one external and one internal advisory expert group have been appointed.

Statoil has not had own employees stationed at In Amenas since the attack. Possible return of personnel to the plant will be subject to evaluation and further implementation of a number of identified security measures. The same applies to Statoil employees at the In Salah plant and Hassi Messaoud.