In the wake of Al Qaeda’s devastating attack on the Amenas gas plant in Western Algeria, which has left 37 employees dead, Sonatrach CEO, Abdelhamid Zerguine has stepped down.
Sonatrach, Algeria’s national oil company jointly operated the Amenas plant with Statoil ASA. It appears that Zerguine has taken the blame for relaxed security measures, which allowed the attack to be successful. A source commented that security had been allowed to get lax after several earlier attacks had been unsuccessful; the source went on to state that Sonatrach had allowed too much flexibility with regards to the handling of security.
Zerguine has reportedly now been replaced by the company’s head of exploration and production, Said Sahnoun at the behest of the Algerian oil minister, Youcef Yousfi. A company official was quoted as saying, “Zerguine is no longer the CEO. Sahnoun is the interim head while a permanent replacement is being sought.”
However, in a recent interview, Zerguine appeared to deny his dismissal and was quoted as saying, “For the time being, I work. I remain at the disposal and at the service of the company.”
Edited from various sources by David Bizley
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