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Foreign oil workers evacuated from Algeria

Thursday - 1/17/2013, 2:49pm  ET

This April 19, 2005 photo released by Statoil via NTB scanpix, shows the Ain Amenas gas field in Algeria, where Islamist militants raided and took hostages Wednesday Jan. 16, 2013. As Algerian army helicopters clattered overhead deep in the Sahara desert, Islamist militants hunkered down for the night in the natural gas complex they had assaulted Wednesday morning, killing two people and taking dozens of foreigners hostage in what could be the first spillover from France's intervention in Mali. (AP Photo/Kjetil Alsvik, Statoil via NTB scanpix) NORWAY OUT

MADRID (AP) -- Spanish, Norwegian and British oil companies were evacuating workers from Algerian energy facilities Thursday following the hostage-taking by Islamic militants in the Sahara desert and Algeria's attempt to free them.

Spain's Compania Espanola de Petroleos SA said it moved workers from two Algerian facilities to the center of the country as a precautionary measure and that its Algeria operations were functioning normally. Spain gets nearly half its natural gas from Algeria.

BP PLC said plans are under way to bring some non-essential workers out of Algeria.

Helge Lund, the CEO of Norwegian energy company Statoil, said about 40 non-essential staff would be flown back to Norway.

The hostages were taken Wednesday by militants linked to Mali's rebel Islamists at a remote Sahara natural gas plant. The site is operated by BP, Statoil and the Algerian state oil company Sonatrach. A Japanese company, JGC Corp, provides services for the facility.


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