Release date: 24 January 2013
I am writing to you once again at the end of an extraordinarily sad and difficult week for our company.
As you know, it is now clear that four of our colleagues in all likelihood lost their lives in the attack on the In Amenas joint venture.
I am sorry that I cannot confirm their identities formally to you, but for a number of reasons, including a specific legal instruction from the relevant UK authorities, we cannot do so at this time. We must all respect this instruction.
Those colleagues and other members of the In Amenas workforce were attacked by murderers on what should have been an ordinary working day. This was an appalling act of evil – a barbarous and pre-meditated criminal attack which has rightly been condemned around the world.
It is hard to imagine the grief that their families and friends are suffering. All we can do is to help them in every practical way we can and assure them that thousands of people across BP are thinking of them. We are united in our sympathy for those who have lost their sons, fathers, husbands, partners, brothers or friends.
Some staff from our contractors and our business partners were also among those who lost their lives. They too are part of BP’s wider family and our hearts go out to everyone affected by this terrible event.
We are also thinking of the 14 BP staff and the other colleagues who were involved in this incident and have now returned home. They have been through a terrible ordeal and witnessed real terror and evil up close. We all salute and admire their strength and resilience. But we first remember and honour those who died.
They were doing their job in Algeria, making a difference by working to provide energy, supporting the local community and working alongside local people. I also want to recognise and thank those brave Algerians who helped save lives during this awful incident.
We are doing what we can to support those affected by this tragedy. First and foremost we remain close to the families of those feared to have lost their lives. We are also staying close to those who have returned from Algeria – particularly those involved in the incident but also the others who were brought to the UK from other locations. Our support includes medical care, practical help and counselling. We are also providing assistance to contractors and partners as appropriate.
We have made counselling services available to all BP staff who want to talk to someone about this incident.
It is of course for governments to pursue the murderers and exact justice. Governments will also be conducting their enquiries. BP will participate fully and share what knowledge and insights we have. We will ensure any lessons are applied to prevent such an outrage occurring again.
This has been a heavy blow for BP and I can imagine people across the company asking many questions. Where does this leave our company? How should we react? Where does BP go from here?
I am very clear about where BP goes. We go on. We carry on with our business of delivering energy to the world. Our industry performs a valuable and essential role in society. We provide the fuel and power that people need to escape poverty – indeed in places like Africa – and the energy to maintain economic growth around the world. And we will not be prevented from fulfilling that role by terrorists.
What we do matters. It matters to governments, people and communities. It attracts a lot of attention. It involves hazards and risks. We have to manage those risks as part of our business, learning lessons, as undoubtedly we will from this incident.
But even on such a dark day, what gives me confidence is this. I know of no group of people who are more capable - professionally and personally – of undertaking this incredibly responsible and sometimes very testing role than the people who work for BP.
In this crisis, you have shown that you are not only a community of professionals - but a community of people – people who have reacted to this on a human level with a blend of compassion and commitment.
Those involved in dealing with this incident have shown great judgement and sensitivity. And those not directly involved have contributed by showing their support, maintaining the strength and focus to continue to deliver our day to day operations safely and reliably. We have faced an unprecedented crisis but there is work to be done and decisions to be made - and people are pulling together and supporting each other. I am deeply grateful to you all.
But first and foremost let us spend the next few days thinking of our colleagues and their loved ones. We feel their loss deeply. We worked with them. We will think of them often. And we will never forget them.