Norway's Statoil interested in Algerian offshore, renewables - minister

ALGIERS, May 2 (Reuters) - Norway’s Statoil is interested in investments in Algeria’s offshore potential and solar and wind energy projects, Norway’s foreign affairs minister said after meeting with his Algerian counterpart, a ministry statement said on Tuesday.

Statoil is already operating in Algeria’s gas sector, but it is the first time the company has expressed public interest in renewable energy projects and offshore projects in Algeria.

Algeria, hit by the crash in global oil prices, is working hard to find new energy resources to boost its revenues but also to develop renewable energy to cut domestic demand for gas so it can export more.

Norwegian Foreign Affairs minister Borge Brende highlighted “business prospects not only in the gas sector but also wind, solar and offshore”, the Algerian ministry statement said.

Algeria will announce shortly a major solar project of 4,000 Megawatts as part of its renewable energy development.

During the visit, Algeria’s Energy Minister Nourredine Bouterfa also said the government planned a project with a capacity of 3,000 megawatts from wind energy.

Algerian state energy company Sonatrach’s revenue reached a record low of $27.5 billion in 2016 versus $60 billion in 2014 after the collapse of energy prices.

Several international companies have already showed interest in Algeria’s offshore projects, including Italy ENI , U.S. Anadarko and ExxonMobil. Sonatrach has said that it expects offshore works to begin before the end of this year.

Statoil has already partnered with BP and Sonatrach in Tiguentourine’s gas plant in the Algerian desert, one of the country’s largest gasfields. (Reporting by Lamine Chikhi. Editing by Jane Merriman)