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  1. #36
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    MOSCOW, February 19, 2008 (Xinhua) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks on Tuesday with his visiting Algerian counterpart, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, pledging to boost economic and trade ties and energy cooperation with the North African country.

    "It is extremely important for us to be in contact on issues and problems of energy, especially when Algeria heads OPEC this year," Russian news agencies Interfax and Itar-Tass cited Putin as saying during talks in the Kremlin.

    Algeria is the world's fourth-largest gas exporter and ranks 14th among oil producers. Petrodollars account for more than 97 percent of the OPEC member state's foreign exchange revenues and are the pillar of the national economy.

    Russia, meanwhile, ranks as the second-largest gas exporter and oil producer, and surging oil prices have also fueled the nation's economic growth.

    Putin also hailed the development of Russian-Algerian relations.

    "I am very pleased that relations with our key partner not only in North Africa but in the whole of the Mediterranean stand at a high level and are developing in various areas," he told Bouteflika.

    Putin asked Algeria to provide equal conditions and facilitate the operation of Russian companies in Algeria when it signs a free trade zone with the European Union in 2012.

    The two heads of state also welcomed Russian companies' victory in a railway construction bid in Algeria.

    "I am happy that Russian companies have won the tender. We have reached agreement here," Bouteflika said, adding there was only some difference on the price.

    Bouteflika's visit followed Putin's visit to Algeria in March 2006, during which the two sides signed an arms deal worth 7 billion U.S. dollars. In return, Russia cancelled the debts owed by Algeria to its financial institutions.

  2. #37
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    MOSCOW, February 19, 2008 (Reuters) - Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom and Algeria's state-owned energy firm Sonatrach could re-ignite a production agreement both sides had previously abandoned, Russia's Energy Minister said on Tuesday.

    "Gazprom and Sonatrach are now working on options to swap assets and take part in extracting and transporting gas," Viktor Khristenko told reporters after Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika met with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

    Bouteflika flew to Moscow on Monday for a two-day state visit with a group of Algerian ministers, including Chakib Khelil, current OPEC president and minister of energy and mines.

    A cooperation deal in which the Algerian firm would participate in gas exploration deals in Russia fell apart at the end of last year when both Gazprom and Sonatrach backed out, declining to give a reason.

    The proposed partnership further raised a long-held fear in the European Union over potential fixed prices by two of Europe's top gas suppliers.

    In addition to Gazprom, Stroitransgaz, Gazprom's main building contractor, could extract at least 3.5 million tonnes of oil per year in Algeria from 2011, Russian media reported Khristenko as saying, adding that the Russian firm acquired deposits in Algeria one week ago.

    Both Khelil and Khristenko avoided questions on the possible creation of an OPEC-style gas charter, which would make the informal club of major gas exporters official, a suggestion which market talk and media reports have recently bolstered.

    Russia, the world's largest gas exporter, and Iran, Qatar, Venezuela, Nigeria and Algeria have said their annual gas forum aims at increasing cooperation between key producers.

    Russian officials have consistently denied any possibility of an "OPEC gas" charter, but experts and analysts believe it could happen in the medium to long-term.

  3. #38
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    Mardi 19 Février 2008 -- Fin 2007, les discussions avaient bien avancées et tout avait finalement été abandonné, mais l’idée vient de resurgir au détour de la visite d’Abdelaziz Bouteflika à Moscou : pourquoi ne pas marier les compétences de l’opérateur gazier russe Gazprom au savoir faire de Sonatrach. Selon le ministre russe de l’énergie, les deux entreprises pourraient échanger des participations et des prises d’intérêts dans l’extraction et le transport du gaz. L’idée a donc refait surface alors même que l’éventuel partenariat des deux plus importants exportateurs de gaz est spécialement craint par les Européens.

    Mais outre Gazprom, la société Stroitansgaz pourrait également profiter de l’accord et venir extraire jusqu’à 3,5millions de tonnes équivalent pétrole en Algérie à partir de 2011. Le ministre de l’Énergie russe a expliqué que cette société avait déposé une première somme d’argent à Alger la semaine dernière.

    Le ministre de l’Énergie Chakib Khelil et son homologue russe ont ensuite soigneusement évité toute question sur la création d’un Opep du gaz alors même que plusieurs pays producteurs ont encore récemment appelé de leurs vœux à un renforcement de la coopération entre les différents États.

  4. #39
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    February 20, 2008 -- President Vladimir Putin and his Algerian counterpart, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, pledged greater cooperation on energy and railroads at a Kremlin meeting Tuesday, but kept mum about the fate of a controversial arms deal to supply Algeria with MiG fighter jets.

    Against a background of continued speculation about the creation of an OPEC-style gas cartel, the leaders of the two major gas-producing countries pledged to work closely on energy issues.

    "It is vital for us to remain in contact over questions and problems of energy, especially because Algeria is currently heading OPEC," Putin said at the meeting.

    In an interview with Itar-Tass published ahead of Tuesday's meeting, Bouteflika called for the two countries to "coordinate" their energy policies.

    Bouteflika was accompanied on his two-day Moscow visit by Algerian Energy Minister Chakib Khelil. Khelil is currently serving as president of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

    European authorities have recently become concerned over improved energy links between Russia and Algeria, which together account for over 65 percent of the Europe Union's gas imports.

    As concrete proof of the good energy relations, Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko said that state companies Gazprom and Sonatrach could rekindle a cooperation agreement that fell apart late last year.

    "Gazprom and Sonatrach are now working on options to swap assets and take part in extracting and transporting gas," Khristenko said.

    Khristenko also said Rosneft could start pumping oil in Algeria by 2011.

    "Literally one week ago, Rosneft in cooperation with Stroitransgaz confirmed a commercial find at two oil fields in Algeria and two gas fields," Khristenko said, Interfax reported.

    Rosneft and engineering firm Stroitransgaz could eventually produce 3.5 million tons of oil per year in Algeria, Khristenko said.

    He also said that Russian firm Itera, in cooperation with Finnish and Canadian companies, stood a good chance of winning a tender to develop a new petrochemicals plant in Algeria, Interfax reported.

    Bouteflika, who was on his first official visit to Moscow, told reporters that Russian companies had won a tender to build railroads in Algeria. He added that the details of the deal were still to be worked out.

    In reply, Putin said he had spoken directly with the head of state-owned Russian Railways, Vladimir Yakunin.

    "He is determined to continue current cooperation and certain that the Russian proposals for the projects are the most competitive," Putin said, referring to Yakunin.

    Tuesday's meeting came amid controversy over the sale of MiG jets to Algeria, part of $8 billion in arms deals signed when Putin visited the country in March 2006. The deal saw about $4.7 billion of Algeria's Soviet-era debt wiped out.

    "We have many questions for discussion and debate, including military-technical cooperation," Putin said. He did not elaborate.

    The Algerian Air Force signed an agreement last week to return 15 MiG-29 jets, delivered to the country in 2006 and 2007, because of technical concerns over the aircraft, Kommersant reported Monday. The planes were part of a larger $1.5 billion consignment of 36 MiGs to be delivered.

    A spokeswoman for MiG, however, denied on Monday that the original deal had been torn up.

    State arms trader Rosoboronexport and the Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation refused to comment on the results of the Kremlin meeting Tuesday.

    Analysts have tended to link Algerian attempts to return the jets to internal struggles within the North African state's governing elite or to aggressive moves from other arms suppliers, rather than problems with the quality of the Russian jets.

  5. #40
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    Mercredi 20 Février 2008 -- Le président Abdelaziz Bouteflika s’est montré insatisfait par le niveau de coopération économique entre l’Algérie et la Russie en 2007, et il a déclaré que ce niveau est moins important qu’en 2006. Le président russe Vladimir Poutine a appelé à ce que les compagnies russes investissant en Algérie puissent bénéficier des mêmes conditions d’activité que les compagnies européennes.

    Bouteflika a précisé, lors de ses entretiens avec Poutine dans la deuxième et dernière journée de sa visite en Russie, qu’il veille à supprimer les obstacles qui empêchent la promotion de la coopération commerciale et économique entre les deux pays. Selon les agences de presse russes officielles, il a déclaré qu’il n’est pas satisfait de l’évolution des relations bilatérales dans leur volet économique, et « les deux parties ont réalisé en 2006 des résultats plus importants qu’en 2007 ».

    Bouteflika a déclaré que le recul du niveau de coopération bilatérale « n’est pas lié à l’approfondissement des relations entre l’Algérie et l’Union européenne », alors que Poutine a souligné la suppression des taxes douanières sur un certain nombre de marchandises, suite à l’accord de partenariat algéro-européen, qui porte sur la création d’une zone libre d’ici 2012.

    Le président russe a appelé son homologue algérien à débattre des questions d’énergie entre les deux pays qu’il a qualifiés de plus grands exportateurs de gaz dans le monde.

    Bouteflika a annoncé à la fin de sa rencontre avec Poutine que la compagnie des chemins de fer russe a décroché l’appel d’offres pour la création de nouveaux chemins de fer en Algérie, et une source diplomatique russe a indiqué à El Khabar que le coût du projet avoisine un milliard de dollars.

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