Sonatrach to invest $80 billion in Algeria energy projects

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algeria sahara oil field
An oil field in Algeria’s Sahara Desert. Photo – AlgeriaChannel.net

Algeria’s state-run energy group Sonatrach boss on Sunday announced plans to invest $80 billion in oil and natural gas projects during the next four years.

Addressing a news conference in Algiers, chief executive officer Abdelhamid Zerguine said the company will spend $14 billion on building four refineries and has budgeted $15 billion for investment in 2013, up from $10 billion in 2012, as part of the five-year plan. He did not provide further details.

The company’s vice president for commerce Yamina Hamdi also said that Algeria may not need to import any fuel oil next year as some domestic refineries have resumed operations.

Algeria is the holder of the continent’s fourth-largest crude reserves and is working on plans to revamp its energy industry by attracting foreign investors. The North African nation spends a considerable amount of its budget on importing fuel due to lack of refining capabilities. The government is also seeking to approve a hydrocarbons law this year which will give greater incentives to international investors.

According to data compiled by Bloomberg, Algeria, a member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, pumped 1.2 million barrels a day of crude in October.

Algeria, Arab world’s second most-populous country after Egypt, will consume up to 80 terawatts of electricity by 2020 and 150 terawatts by 2030, Noureddine Boutarfa, CEO of state-run gas and electricity company Sonelgaz, said while addressing the same conference.

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