Sonatrach says Exxon Mobil considering investment in Algeria

ORAN, Algeria (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil is considering investing in Algeria for the first time, a sign the North African country is becoming “more attractive”, the head of Algerian state energy firm Sonatrach said on Wednesday.

“We have had three meetings with Exxon Mobil and we are expecting to conclude with (Exxon) soon,” Sonatrach CEO Abdelmoumene Ould Kaddour told reporters on the sidelines of an oil and gas conference in the Algerian city of Oran.

“The meetings took place in Algiers,” Ould Kaddour said, without giving further details. He said an improved security environment had contributed to growing interest from foreign firms.

Algeria has struggled to attract foreign investment in recent years and has seen its oil and gas production stagnate. A sharp fall in oil prices from 2014 hit state finances, which are heavily dependent on hydrocarbons exports.

Ould Kaddour is pushing to reform Sonatrach and improve relations with foreign partners in an effort to entice them to make new investments and boost production.

Reporting by Lamine Chikhi; Writing by Aidan Lewis; editing by David Evans