August 13, 2018 / 6:12 AM / a year ago

Factbox: What is Algeria doing to revive its energy sector?

ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algeria has been trying to attract more investment to its vital oil and gas sector. Here are some of the key developments since Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour took over as CEO of state energy firm Sonatrach in March, 2017.

FILE PHOTO: Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour, Chief Executive of Algerian state energy firm Sonatrach, checks equipment during the launch ofa new gas pipeline from southwestern fields, Algeria, February 8, 2018. REUTERS/Lamine Chikhi/File Photo

— Kaddour has resolved a series of disputes with oil majors including France’s Total TOTF.PF, Italy’s ENI (ENI.MI) and Spain’s Repsol (REP.MC) which had blocked investments.

In January, Sonatrach signed a memorandum of understanding with Norway’s Statoil STL.OL and Britain’s BP (BP.L) to strengthen cooperation, particularly in upstream oil exploration.

— The government has planned a new energy law for years to offer more competitive terms to investors.

The bill should be ready by the end of 2018, Sonatrach sources say. While a tax benefit will be added, a rule limiting foreign ownership of foreign ventures to 49 percent is likely to remain, they say.

— Sonatrach has been trying to focus on petrochemicals to lower a fuel import bill by agreeing to buy Exxon Mobil’s Augusta refinery in Italy for $700 million this year.

It signed a deal in January with oil trader Vitol to exchange crude for refined products, its first such deal, and is discussing a trading venture.

— It also plans to develop solar power to enable it to export more of its output.

— Sonatrach’s CEO has launched a long term strategy called “SH 2030” that aims to make $67 billion in additional revenue by 2030, of which 50 percent will be reinvested. Few other details of the plan have been released since then.

— Another focus has been to boost shale gas reserves to offset rising domestic gas consumption eating into exports. Sonatrach has expressed hope that Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) will agree on cooperation in this area.

Algeria sits on the third-largest reserves in the world. 

— Sonatrach has also been trying to expand abroad, holding talks with Niger and Iraq for exploration contracts. Nothing concrete has been announced yet.

Reporting by Lamine Chikhi; editing by Ulf Laessing and Philippa Fletcher

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