BP says Algeria gas field hit by "security incident"

LONDON Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:38pm GMT

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LONDON (Reuters) - Oil major BP (BP.L) said it had experienced a "security incident" at a gas field in Algeria, following reports that Islamist militants had seized five Japanese nationals and a French citizen from the facility on Wednesday.

"We can confirm that there has been a security incident this morning at the In Amenas gas field in the eastern central region of Algeria. We have no more confirmed details at this time," BP said in a statement.

BP said UK authorities had been advised about the incident. BP did not say whether foreigners were taken away from the facility, only that the company was "setting up a helpline for relatives".

Diplomatic and local sources said earlier on Wednesday the militants had seized foreigners at the field.

The field, located close to the border with Libya, is operated by a joint venture including BP, Norwegian oil firm Statoil (STL.OL) and Algerian state company Sonatrach.

BP said the field was approximately 1,300 km from the capital, Algiers.

(Reporting by Dmitry Zhdannikov; editing by Jane Baird)

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