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Sunday, May 22, 2022

Statoil honours its terror victims

Five flags hung at half-mast outside Bergen’s historic Håkons Hall on Monday, as Statoil chief executive Helge Lund and Norway’s oil minister Ola Borten Moe honoured the state oil company’s five employees who were killed in last month’s terrorist attack on a gas plant in Algeria. Lund called the attacks “unfair and meaningless.”

His voice nearly choked at times by emotion, Lund named each of the five men who were “suddenly torn away, innocent victims of brutal terrorism.” He referred to the agonizing uncertainty their families had to endure following the attack, adding that “unfortunately there was no comfort” in the answers they finally received more than a week later.

“It feels unfair and meaningless, and the loss is irrevocable,” Lund said.

With the victims’ families, friends and colleagues gathered in the centuries-old structure on Bergen’s waterfront, along with representatives of Statoil’s partners in Algeria and various state officials, Lund noted that “meeting death is life’s greatest ordeal.” Addressing the survivors, Lund said “we wish you strength to remember … and to move forward.”

Moe, representing the Norwegian government, also called the attack that killed 38 workers at the In Amenas gas plant “meaningless” and said it was condemned by “an entire nation, and entire world.” He said the five men represented Norway abroad and that they will not be forgotten.

In his remarks prepared for delivery at the memorial ceremony, Moe also thanked Algeria’s ambassador to Norway and other representatives from Algeria and Statoil’s Algerian partner Sonatrach for attending the ceremony: “We recognize how painful this solemn occasion also is for you, exacerbated by Algeria’s decades of suffering and fighting the scourge of terrorism.  Thank you for your presence here with us.”

The memorial was also attended by the mayor of Bergen, Trude Drevland, and featured musical tributes by Ole Edvard Antonsen and Karoline Kruger. It was followed by Statoil employees around the world, who also paused for a moment of silence in honour of their late colleagues.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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