Braving Algeria Desert, Oil Firms Reaped Rewards
By James Herron
The Algerian desert was a difficult work environment even before the hostage crisis at a natural gas field in the southeast of the country.
BP PLC In Salah gas field in Algeria—to the west of the In Amenas field, where suspected Islamic militants have taken dozens of foreigners hostage—is the hottest continuously inhabited place on earth, BP says. Temperatures swing from higher than 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) in the summer down to -4 Celsius (25 Fahrenheit) in the winter.
BP also has to employ teams of people at all of its desert operations to shovel constantly drifting sand away from pipes, tanks and other equipment.
The rewards in the area have been considerable.
The In Amenas complex—which includes four primary gas fields, plus processing facilities—produces wet gas, meaning it contains significant volumes of valuable liquid hydrocarbons. More than 600 people worked on the site, according to the state-run Algerian Press Service.
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