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How Multinationals in Egypt Are Coping With Crisis

Companies with operations in Egypt are doing their best to maintain business as usual, with varying results.

Protestors chant as they ride on an army tank transporter in Tahrir Square on January 29, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt. Tens of thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets across Egypt in Cairo, Suez, and Alexandria to call for the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. Riot police and the Army have been sent into the streets to quell the protests, which so far have claimed 32 lives and left more than a thousand injured.
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Protestors chant as they ride on an army tank transporter in Tahrir Square on January 29, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt. Tens of thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets across Egypt in Cairo, Suez, and Alexandria to call for the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. Riot police and the Army have been sent into the streets to quell the protests, which so far have claimed 32 lives and left more than a thousand injured.

The Suez Canal, which carries approximately 8% of world trade and is one of seven "choke points" for global oil transport according to the U.S. Department of Energy, remained open and, for the most part, running normally according to companies that use the waterway.

"Right now, the port is telling us that everything is normal," said Bruce Chan, CEO-elect of shipping company Teekay Tankers in an interview on CNBC. "Our ship we've spoken to and have been in constant communication throught the weekend and they have reported no difficulties so far, although they are having some communication challenges."

But while the canal and the critical Sumed Pipeline are operating, there have been disruptions. A.P. Moller-Maersk, a Danish conglomerate that operates container ships and supply vessels, said it had closed its shipping office and suspended port operations, primarily affecting tanker ships. The company said its 7,000 employees in Egypt are all accounted for.

Oil giants BP and Shell said they are removing non-essential employees from Egypt, and Britain's BG Group and Norway's Statoil have suspended natural gas drilling operations, but production was unaffected.

Texas-based Apache relies on Egypt for nearly one quarter of its oil and natural gas production. The company issued a statement last week saying its operations were unaffected, and a spokesman on Monday said that remains the case.

Citigroup said its 600 employees in Egypt are safe and accounted for, according to spokeswoman Jennifer Scardino, who could not say if there has been any damage to the bank's operations there. The bank is working with clients affected by communication shutdowns in the country, helping them to conduct business through Citi offices outside Egypt.

Met Life , which has roughly 250 employees in Egypt working for the Alico unit aquired last year from American International Group , says the employees are safe and accounted for. Spokesman Peter Stack says the company's offices in Egypt are closed for the time being.

U.S. consulting firm Deloitte has approximately 350 employees in Egypt.

"Our global security office has advised me that we have accounted for all of them and they are safe," said Global CEO James Quigley in an interview on CNBC. "Our number one objective is their health and safety."

— CNBC's Mary Thompson contributed to this report.

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