Algerian oil, gas export volumes fall 9% in Jan-Sept

ALGIERS, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Algeria’s oil and gas export volumes fell 9% in the first nine months of 2019 after a 2% drop in output and an 8% rise in domestic consumption, Energy Minister Mohamed Arkab said in comments broadcast on Monday.

Algeria, an OPEC member and a major gas supplier to Europe, has been struggling to boost oil and gas production, on which it relies to finance the state budget.

As a result of the lower export volumes, energy earnings reached $24.6 billion for January to September, down from $29 billion a year earlier, state radio quoted Arkab as saying at a meeting with the parliamentary finance committee late on Sunday.

Overall energy exports reached 67 million tonnes of oil equivalent (mtoe) by the end of September, against 74 mtoe in the first nine months of 2018, he said.

Oil and gas output stood at 140 mtoe, down from 143 mtoe in January-September 2018. Domestic demand rose to 45 mtoe from 42 mtoe.

“This situation requires a rise in oil and gas production,” Arkab said.

The government has submitted to parliament a new energy law offering tax incentives to foreign investors, who have long complained about bureaucracy and unattractive contract terms.

“The draft law is aimed at encouraging partnership and boosting exploration,” Arkab said.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other producers have since January implemented a deal to cut oil output by 1.2 million barrels per day to support the market. (Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed; Editing by Dale Hudson)