Algeria considers opening oil and gas sector to foreign participation
Algeria is considering opening its petroleum sector to foreign investment and has a new draft law on hydrocarbons that is to be presented to parliament once the administration of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has reviewed it and given it its blessing.
Chakib Khelil, Algeria's Minister of Energy and Mines, said that the law will move through the government channels without delay and should be endorsed and brought before parliament right away. He said the new law, actually presented last year, will permit competition in the country's oil and gas industry for the first time, both upstream and downstream, eliminating Sonatrach's monopoly and establishing the state-owned company as equal to other companies in competition for exploration and development projects.
Khelil pointed out, however, that the new regime will not alter previously contracted production sharing agreements
between Sonatrach and foreign companies, and it will not change Sonatrach's management of the country's 43 % interest
in the market and the company's control over existing pipelines.
At this time, all foreign companies seeking to invest in Algeria's petroleum sector must form a joint venture with Sonatrach.