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  • 14-5-2007: A Comissão de Mercado de Valores Mobiliários (CMVM) emitiu hoje um esclarecimento ao mercado relativo ao acordo parassocial celebrado entre a Parpública e a CGD, mediante o qual são imputáveis à argelina Sonatrach os direitos de voto correspondentes às participações sociais detidas por estes dois accionistas no capital da EDP.

    Em comunicado, a CMVM adianta que a Sonatrach, a Parpública e a Caixa Geral de Depósitos assinaram um Acordo Parassocial respeitante à EDP - Energias de Portugal, que foi anunciado ao mercado no passado dia 13 de Abril pela Parpública, mediante o qual estas sociedades assumiram algumas obrigações, no sentido de apoiar a eleição e manter a presença de representante da Sonatrach no Conselho Geral e de Supervisão da eléctrica nacional, desde que sejam cumpridas determinadas condições.

    Na sequência das dúvidas que surgiram no mercado relativas à comunicação por parte da EDP, na passada sexta-feira dia 11 de Maio, da participação qualificada da Sonatrach, nos termos da qual lhe são imputados 27,559% dos seus direitos de voto, a CMVM emitiu este esclarecimento, no qual explica que a existência de acordos de voto implica que, aos votos detidos directamente pelo participante numa sociedade aberta se somem igualmente os votos detidos por terceiros que, no âmbito do acordo, assumam obrigações perante o participante quanto ao seu exercício. Assim, aos 2% que a Sonatrach detém no capital da eléctrica nacional são somados os direitos de voto da Parpública e da CGD de 20,54% e 4,98%, respectivamente

    "A possibilidade de a qualquer dos intervenientes no acordo parassocial poder vir a ser imputada integralmente a participação dos restantes foi, aliás, algo que as próprias partes previram no próprio Acordo Parassocial", refere o documento.

    Segundo o comunicado emitido pela Parpública, no passado dia 13 de Abril, "esta e/ou a Caixa têm o direito de resolver o Acordo Parassocial (…) no caso das participações agregadas das partes excederem 1/3 dos direitos de voto, desde que tal resulte da aquisição de acções próprias pela EDP e/ou da ultrapassagem de 5% dos direitos de voto por parte da Sonatrach e a CMVM entenda que os direitos de voto das partes devem legalmente ser agregados em virtude da celebração do Acordo Parassocial".

    Dada a natureza das obrigações do Acordo Parassocial, a imputação de votos dos subscritores é feita à Sonantrach, não se determinando assim a imputação recíproca.

    Segundo os estatutos da EDP, com excepção da Parpública, os direitos de voto dos accionistas estão limitados a um máximo de 5% do capital social.

    Comment


    • WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)--Energy Information Administration chief Guy Caruso said Monday that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries should increase production before its next meeting in September, especially following ongoing problems in Nigeria that have cut production in the country by almost one-third.

      Caruso also predicted that national weekly average gasoline prices should hit record highs in a tight product market exacerbated by the Nigerian cuts.

      In two moves beginning last November, the oil cartel pledged to cut oil production by 1.7 million barrels a day in order to shrink high global inventories that were depressing prices.

      In March, OPEC agreed to keep its current output restraints in place until the group meets again September 11. Some market analysts said OPEC will likely have to act before then as strong summer demand is expected to boost oil prices and tighten inventories further.

      Lower-than-expected refining capacity and gasoline import levels have forced large stock drawdowns in recent months, pushing gasoline prices to sustained high levels.

      Caruso, speaking on the sidelines of an energy conference, said ongoing political problems and violence in West Africa were worsening a tight product market and a falling crude-stocks situation.

      Nigeria produces a light, sweet grade of crude that many U.S. and European refineries are calibrated to process into products such as gasoline.

      "It's not good news," Caruso said.

      Unrest over the past few weeks has shuttered about 220,000 barrels a day of Nigerian oil output. About a third of Nigeria's pumping capacity of about 2.5 million barrels a day has been shut down by violence.

      Several OPEC ministers have in the past week dismissed calls for increased production, saying the market was adequately supplied. Earlier Monday at the same U.S. Algeria Business Council conference, Chakib Khelil said Nigeria production problems wouldn't affect OPEC's decision to maintain production cuts ahead of the U.S. driving season. Khelil said Nigerian production "has been down for a while now, and it hasn't affected supply."

      "So we still have good supply and are meeting demand," the minister said, speaking on the sidelines of an Algerian-U.S. conference here.

      Crude oil futures edged higher Monday morning on heightened concern over supply from West Africa amid tightening gasoline fundamentals. At around 12:30 a.m. EDT, the front-month June contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange was up 31 cents at $62.68. Prices rose as high as $63.07 a barrel in early electronic trading before quickly slipping back.

      News that Chevron Corp (CVX) has begun withdrawing hundreds of workers and contractors from Nigeria's offshore waters following recent militant attacks has prompted concerns that already-pared output from Africa's largest producer will be trimmed further. Late last week, Total SA (TOT) declared force majeure on its supply from the Republic of Congo following a fire that halted output from the country's largest field.

      Caruso said OPEC should "definitely" not wait until its next ordinary meeting before increasing output.

      "Refiners have to ramp up for the winter, so they need to start building up inventories," the EIA chief said, adding that "given the Nigerian new development ... we do think there will be a need for more OPEC oil" than the cartel is currently producing.

      "We'll need more OPEC oil this year compared with last year because demand is higher than what the non-OPEC supply is growing," he said. "The most important thing is to keep the market adequately supplied."

      Addison Armstrong, an analyst at TFS Energy in Stamford, Connecticut, said in a research note Monday that "Traders continue to fret about the potential for further erosion of output from Nigeria and tightening gasoline supplies."

      Caruso also said he "wouldn't be surprised" if weekly national average gasoline prices hit a nominal record high.

      EIA is due to issue its latest weekly gasoline price survey average later Monday. Last week, it was $3.054. That was the highest since September 5, 2005, when it hit $3.069 - the highest reported by the EIA. EIA's gasoline price survey is collected through a telephone sampling of approximately 900 retail gasoline outlets.

      Although he couldn't provide the amount of price rise the EIA expected on the week, Caruso said: "I know this week's (price rise) is likely to be enough to go past the nominal record."

      Reformulated unleaded gasoline, or RBOB, for June delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange was recently trading 3.40 cents lower at $2.3181/gallon.

      The American Automobile Association issues average gasoline prices daily. Over the weekend, the association's Fuel Gauge report, using oil price service OPIS data, surpassed its highest recorded price of $3.057 from Sept. 5, 2005, in the days following Hurricane Katrina's devastation of the Louisiana coastline.

      Pump prices in 31 of the 50 states and the District of Columbia now average more than $3 a gallon, AAA said.

      OPIS surveys up to 85,000 self-serve stations.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Al-khiyal View Post
        WASHINGTON, May 14 (KUNA) -- The United States and oil-rich Algeria on Monday voiced interest in expanding areas of energy cooperation at a meeting that brought together top government and private sector officials in the nations capital.

        The US-Algeria Business Council convened the 2007 energy forum seeking broader trade partnership between the US and the mainly-French speaking Algeria.

        Over 100 representatives of US companies met in this forum to discuss more investment opportunities in Algeria, with the presence of Algerian Minister of Energy and Mines Chakib Khelil and officials from the State Department, Energy Department, and the Department of Commerce.

        Khelil told KUNA on the sidelines of the forum that this meeting is "a positive exchange of ideas" about energy consumption and how best to develop renewable energy, mainly solar.

        He added that US-Algerian trade relations have been steady since the 1970s, and the recent bilateral trade boost simply reflects US needs for energy.

        Khelil said in his speech to the forum that "Algeria will not miss the opportunity to take a share of US market", noting that there is a good prospect for energy export to the United States and that Algeria "will be part of the solution" to US gas shortages.

        Algeria remains both the worlds fourth largest gas exporter and the 18th supplier of oil.

        Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Gordon Gray told KUNA that Algeria is a strategic partner for the United States, and now it is ranked as the second trading partner in the Middle East after Saudi Arabia.

        Gray said that the United States recently replaced France as the leading trade partner with Algiers, adding that there is no significant trade barrier for US companies investing in Algeria.

        The trade partnership between the United States and Algeria reached USD 15 billion in 2006.

        In his speech for the council, Gray affirmed the strong bilateral relations between the United States and Algeria, saying that the two countries have "shared interests" in combating terrorism.

        Gray said that the United States "has concerns about the security conditions in Algeria" but added that his administration would continue to cooperate with the Algeria government in that regard.

        "We have great confidence that Algeria will defeat the terrorist threat", he added.

        Addressing the US firms present in the forum, Gray assured that "the safety of US employees is on top of priority lists" of his administration.

        Gray, describing Algeria as "a land of economic opportunities", praised the "ongoing liberalization of telecommunications", the modernization of the financial sector and the educational reforms, which includes the introduction of the English language to the schools curriculum.

        Current US projects in Algeria includes increasing natural gas exports to the United States, upgrading the electricity grid, developing solar power stations, and creating new US-Algeria joint ventures in exploration and drilling fields.

        Gray also backed up the Algerian effort to join the World Trade Organization (WTO).

        Comment


        • 14th May 2007 -- Portuguese utility Energias de Portugal has announced that Algerian oil and gas company Sonatrach has gained a total of 27.559% of voting rights in the company.

          Energias de Portugal (EDP) revealed that, through Sonatrach's shareholders agreement with Portuguese state holding company Parpublica - Participacoes Publicas (SGPS) and state-owned bank Caixa Geral de Depositos, the two companies now hold 20.54% and 4.98% of the voting rights in EDP, respectively.

          The Portuguese utility said that when added to the 2% that Algeria's state-owned Sonatrach already owns, the combined 20.54% and 4.98% of the company's voting rights gives Sonatrach total voting rights of 27.559%.

          According to Dow Jones International News, EDP and Sonatrach signed the shareholders agreement in March 2007. The publication revealed that the companies also announced a partnership in a number of gas and power generation businesses at the same time.

          Dow Jones International News also reported that, in March 2007, the Portuguese government gave Sonatrach permission to up its 2% stake in EDP to 5%.

          Industry publication Hemscott has cited an inside source as saying that the Portuguese finance ministry intends to privatize a further stake in EDP, adding that no details are known as yet.

          Comment


          • 15 mai 2007 -- "Economiquement irréalisable et politiquement incorrect"... C'est le jugement sévère porté par un haut responsable de la Sonatrach, sous couvert d'anonymat, sur le projet de rapprochement capitalistique avec Gaz de France (GDF), envisagé par Nicolas Sarkozy pendant la campagne présidentielle.

            La Tribune, qui cite le responsable en question dans son édition du jour, ajoute que le groupe public algérien d'hydrocarbures ne voit pas l'avantage qu'il pourrait tirer d'un tel projet, car il souhaite être présent dans toute l'Europe et non se lier à un seul partenaire.

            Politiquement, les relations complexes entre la France et l'Algérie ne faciliteraient pas non plus un tel accord...

            Rappelons que ce week-end, un quotidien belge évoquait de son côté des négociations à haut niveau entre Sonatrach et ... Suez, dont le mariage avec GDF paraît très compromis, en vue de nouer des partenariats commerciaux.

            Comment



            • La compagnie publique algérienne d'hydrocarbures Sonatrach juge une éventuelle alliance avec GDF "économiquement irréalisable et politiquement incorrecte", selon La Tribune mardi 15 mai.

              Cette déclaration a été faite au quotidien économique par un haut responsable du groupe sous le sceau de l'anonymat.

              Il y a quelques semaines, le P-DG de Gaz de France Jean-François Cirelli avait déjà affirmé que son groupe n'avait pas pour "projet une alliance capitalistique avec un fournisseur" comme Sonatrach.

              3 obstacles

              Les obstacles cités par le groupe algérien sont au nombre de trois: l'intérêt d'une alliance en échange d'une aide française pour développer le nucléaire civil (du fait des autres propositions reçues par l'Algérie en la matière), les relations "en dent de scie" entre la France et l'Algérie et la difficulté de conduire une alliance entre Sonatrach, groupe étatique, et GDF, coté en Bourse.

              La solution privilégiée par Nicolas Sarkozy

              Cette alliance a pourtant la préférence du futur chef de l'Etat. En mars, Nicolas Sarkozy avait indiqué qu'il préférait une alliance entre Sonatrach et GDF à une fusion GDF-Suez. Son conseiller Patrick Devedjian avait, lui, souligné l'intérêt d'ainsi "créer un grand groupe gazier euro-africain" et de "sécuriser l'approvisionnement de la France".

              Le 12 mai, le quotidien belge Le Soir avait fait état de discussions avancées entre Sonatrach et Suez en vue d'une éventuelle collaboration.

              Comment


              • ALGIERS, May 15, 2007 (Thomson Financial) - Algeria's Energy Minister Chakib Khelil sees no pressing need for OPEC to intervene in the global oil market, despite jitters about supply, the Algerian news agency APS reported.

                Participating at a symposium in Washington on US energy investment opportunities in Algeria, Khelil - who is also OPEC vice-president - acknowledged that there had been a "slight rise" in international oil prices and reduced output at Nigerian oilfields hit by unrest.

                But he added: "Supply and demand remain sufficient overall, and so the market situation does not require intervention on the part of OPEC."

                World oil prices held firm yesterday, after breaching 67 usd a barrel in London at one point in the trading session, as traders fretted over tight supply concerns.

                Unrest in Nigeria has been a factor. The West African nation has lost about a quarter of its output, owing to a series of attacks on facilities in the crude-rich Niger Delta.

                Comment


                • Mercredi 16 mai 2007 -- Un haut responsable de la société nationale a déclaré que Sonatrach n’a pas le souhait de créer une alliance avec le groupe gazier français, argumentant qu’une éventuelle alliance entre les deux parties serait «économiquement irréalisable et politiquement incorrecte».

                  S’exprimant sous couvert de l’anonymat au quotidien français la Tribune dans son édition d’hier, ce même responsable a insisté : «Nous n’avons rien reçu de concret, mais cette alliance est économiquement irréalisable et politiquement incorrecte».

                  Le groupe Sonatrach, selon la même source, ne voit pas l’avantage qu’il pourrait tirer d’un tel projet. En revanche, il souhaite être présent dans toute l’Europe et non se lier à un seul partenaire. De plus, «les relations politiques entre les deux pays restent très compliquées et l’Algérie n’a aucune envie d’engager son plus beau groupe industriel avec la France», commente le quotidien français.

                  Nicolas Sarkozy, rappelle-t-on, avait indiqué en mars dernier, alors en pleine campagne présidentielle, qu’il préférait une alliance entre la Sonatrach et Gaz de France à une fusion entre GDF et Suez. L’ancien ministre Patrick Devedjian, l’un de ses conseillers, avait ensuite affirmé que M. Sarkozy souhaitait privilégier un rapprochement entre GDF et Sonatrach à une fusion avec Suez pour «créer un grand groupe gazier euro-africain» et «sécuriser l’approvisionnement de la France».

                  Le P-DG de Gaz de France, Jean-François Cirelli, avait, pour sa part, affirmé quelques jours plus tard l’inverse lors d’une conférence de presse, soulignant que son groupe n’avait pas pour «projet de nouer une alliance capitalistique avec un fournisseur» comme Sonatrach.

                  Selon l’article de la Tribune, «les Algériens sont sceptiques sur l’intérêt que représenterait une alliance avec GDF en échange d’une aide française pour développer le nucléaire civil», évoquant le fait que le pays ne manque pas d’autres propositions en la matière.

                  Le second obstacle serait d’ordre politique, affirme le journal évoquant les relations «en dents de scie» entre la France et l’Algérie. «Nous avons signé des traités d’amitié avec beaucoup de pays, sauf avec la France qui ne veut pas.

                  Comment peut-on réussir dans l’économie ce qu’on n’a pas pu faire dans le politique ?» interroge le haut responsable de Sonatrach, dans le quotidien français. Enfin, cette même source conclut qu’«une alliance ne peut pas se faire entre une compagnie étatique comme Sonatrach et un groupe coté en Bourse comme GDF».

                  Le 12 mai dernier, le quotidien belge le Soir avait fait état de discussions avancées entre Sonatrach et le groupe énergétique français Suez en vue d’une éventuelle collaboration. Les discussions avancent bien et l’on s’attend à ce qu’un protocole d’accord vienne les sanctionner, même si aucune date n’a été avancée.

                  Comment


                  • Mercredi 16 mai 2007 -- Un symposium sur les opportunités d’investissement dans le secteur des hydrocarbures en Algérie a été organisé, hier à Washington, par le Conseil d’affaires algéro-américain (US ABC). Au cours de cette rencontre, des intervenants américains, représentant les départements du Commerce, de l’Energie, des associations ou des entreprises de développement opérant déjà en Algérie (BP, Shell) ont mis en exergue l’importance du marché algérien, la riche expérience acquise par certaines sociétés, à l’exemple de Sonatrach, mais aussi montré les capacités et les potentialités qu’offre cette industrie gazière en Algérie.

                    Le symposium en question a été consacré aux opportunités d’investissements et de partenariats dans le secteur énergétique algérien, principalement dans l’industrie gazière, l’efficacité énergétique, la production d’énergies, les énergies nouvelles, la pétrochimie et les ressources humaines. La rencontre a regroupé le ministre de l’Energie et des Mines, Chakib Khelil, des P-DG de la NEAL et de l’APRUE, Tewfiq Hasni et Salah Bouzeriba, le directeur de la division études et développement à Sonatrach, Mekki Henni, et Omar Maaliou, directeur des exportations de gaz à Sonatrach. Y étaient présents, côté américain, des représentants des ministères américains du Commerce, de l’Energie et des Affaires étrangères, ainsi que des patrons de sociétés opérant en Algérie ou intéressés par les offres algériennes en matière d’investissement.

                    Plusieurs communications liées aux portefeuilles de projets du secteur de l’énergie en Algérie ont été faites à cette occasion. S’en est suivi un débat centré sur les réformes, le climat des affaires, les avantages comparatifs, entre autres. La délégation algérienne à Washington a réussi à intéresser les partenaires américains sur la faisabilité des projets couvrant aussi bien les énergies nouvelles, le marché du gaz, principalement du GNL, la production d’énergies, la pétrochimie, la formation, la maîtrise des technologies, le transport que les activités en aval et la commercialisation. Les travaux se sont surtout focalisés sur la pétrochimie, le gaz naturel, l’efficacité énergétique, la conservation de l’énergie, les ressources humaines, et ont débouché sur des résultats jugés «satisfaisants», ont estimé les membres de la délégation algérienne, cités par l’APS.

                    Des sociétés présentes à ce symposium ont ainsi manifesté «de l’intérêt» pour nombre de projets présentés en plénière, se renseignant sur la taille des projets et l’importance des investissements requis pour leur développement, ont déclaré des membres de la délégation algérienne.

                    Comment


                    • May 16 (Bloomberg) -- BP Plc, Europe's second-biggest oil company, said gas production at its In Amenas project in Algeria is at about 73 percent capacity as it works to fix some pumps.

                      Statoil ASA, BP's Norwegian partner in the desert project, last week cited "technical problems'' and irregular production in Algeria as one reason for cutting its own global output forecast. The field is producing about 650 million cubic feet per day of gas and 45,000 barrels a day of light oil, or liquefied petroleum gas.

                      "It's at about three-quarters capacity, which is lower than the original plan,'' Robert Wine, a spokesman for BP in London, said today. "There have been some technical problems with LPG pumps during the commissioning and those issues are being fixed.'' Wine said he didn't know when full production will be reached.

                      Six of Europe's eight biggest oil companies have cut production growth targets this year because of project delays. Rising costs and tougher terms for foreign companies operating in producing nations are elements contributing to the lower forecasts.

                      Statoil, Norway's largest oil company, on May 10 lowered its worldwide 2007 production target by as much as 12 percent because of delays and shutdowns at projects in the North Sea and BP-partnered projects in Algeria and Azerbaijan.

                      BP operates in Angola and Algeria, the third- and fourth- largest African oil producers, after Nigeria and Libya, and is partnered with Algerian state-run oil company Sonatrach in importing liquefied natural gas into the U.K.

                      Algeria is seeking to boost gas exports to 85 billion cubic meters a year by 2010, from 65 billion cubic meters, with the help of companies including BP and Repsol YPF SA. Algeria earned a record $57 billion last year from oil and gas exports.

                      The In Amenas project in the desert of southeastern Algeria, near the Libyan border, comprises four so-called wet gas fields, which produce natural gas and so-called gas liquids. Production is eventually expected to reach 9 billion cubic meters a year, with oil output at 60,000 barrels a day.

                      Wine said the current daily gas flow is 650 million cubic feet or 18.2 million cubic meters. Expressed in annual terms, that's about 6.6 billion cubic meters a year.

                      BP started the In Amenas project in 1998 with a production sharing contract with Sonatrach. In 2003, the London-based company sold half of its stake to Statoil.

                      Project Delays

                      In March 2004, BP predicted the venture would start in 2005. The first gas flows started in June 2006. Statoil said last week that liquids production began in December and that the build up of production "has been hampered by technical problems causing irregularities in the processing facilities.''

                      BP operates another, similar-sized gas project in Algeria, called In Salah, which started in July 2004 and produces about 9 billion cubic meters of gas a year. Together, those two projects make up 75 percent of the forecasted increase in Algeria's gas export capacity by 2010, according to BP's website. The In Salah fields are being used to store carbon dioxide that comes out of the underground field along with the natural gas.

                      BP's first business in Algeria was in the mid 1950s, in the last days of French colonial power, when it ran fuel service stations there. It left in the 1960s, when Algeria nationalized its oil industry. BP returned in 1993.

                      Royal Dutch Shell Plc, BP, Total SA, Statoil, Norsk Hydro ASA and Repsol have lowered oil and gas production forecasts since the start of this year. Italy's Eni SpA on May 11 raised its output target through 2010, while BG Group Plc kept its target intact.

                      Comment


                      • May 16, 2007 -- Algerian natural-gas company Sonatrach will multiply its exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the U.S. to 12 billion cubic meters in three years. Algeria’s minister of energy and mines, Chakib Khelil, says that Sonatrach produces 62 billion cubic meters of gas per year and it exports about four billion cubic meters of LNG to the U.S. market. The major gas exporter to Europe also is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

                        Meanwhile, the director of gas exports, Omar Maaliou, says Sonatrach is in the early stages of establishing a U.S. subsidiary to manage those 12 billion cubic meters of liquefied natural gas imports. The company, a 100% state-owned firm, is eyeing small to medium-sized gas companies with U.S. LNG operations as takeover targets as one way to set up the company. “Ultimately, the company will handle our entire Atlantic basin LNG,” Maaliou says, with export opportunities into the U.K., Spain and the U.S. based on market prices.

                        Comment


                        • LONDON, May 17 (Reuters) - Britain's biggest domestic energy supplier Centrica Plc and Spain's Iberdrola have bought extra import capacity at Britain's Isle of Grain liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal from winter 2010-11, the companies said on Thursday.

                          Centrica, which owns British Gas, has secured the capacity to import an additional 2.4 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas per year for 19 years, begining when a third phase of expansion work at the terminal in southern England is completed.

                          Spain's second largest gas retailer Iberdrola, which bought Scottish Power last month, said in a statement it had secured up to 2.75 bcm of regasification capacity from the third expansion.

                          The third phase of the Isle of Grain expansion will increase the amount of gas that can flow from the terminal into the British grid by 6.70 bcm/year from October 2010.

                          Oil major BP and state-owned Algerian gas company Sonatrach hold all the capacity rights currently available at the facility.

                          Centrica said the extra capacity would help to diversify its sources of supply when Britain is expected to have to import about half of all the gas it needs.

                          The company has already bought the right to 3.4 bcm per year of regasification rights over 20 years that will be freed up by a second expansion phase scheduled to be completed by 2008-9.

                          In all, Centrica will have around 30 percent of the terminal's eventual capacity, which it will supply to customers of its British Gas division, the company said.

                          Iberdrola's deal marks its first step into the UK LNG market through its new Scottish Power division, which currently gets all its gas through pipeline.

                          The company is already a big LNG player in Spain, where it owns stakes in two of the country's five operational regasification plants. Last year Iberdrola supplied 20 percent of Spain's LNG, or 101 tanker loads.

                          LNG is gas cooled to liquid form so it can be shipped anywhere in the world and then warmed up again to gaseous form.

                          Comment


                          • In a statement to local radio Sunday (May 14th), Sonatrach President and CEO Mohamed Meziane said the energy company wants to triple natural gas exports to the US from 4 billion to 12 billion cubic metres per year by 2015. Algeria is also seeking technical assistance from the US in developing its civilian nuclear capabilities.

                            Algerian energy minister Chakib Khelil met earlier this week with his US counterpart Samuel Bodman in Washington to address relations between the two countries in the oil sector and to discuss possibilities for expanding the supply of Algerian gas to the US market.

                            Speaking on Russia and Iran's recent calls for the establishment of an OPEC-style consortium for natural gas, Khelil told the US Secretary of Energy that the agreement on natural gas recently ratified between Sonatrach and Russia's Gazprom is an economic agreement akin to the contracts signed with European companies.

                            According to Meziane, Algerian gas in the US market currently represents only 5% of US demand, estimated at 100,000 cubic metres per day. Meziane appeared unphased by the competition Algeria faces within the US market, saying, "We managed to break into European markets, including the British [market], so why not other markets?"

                            Algeria presently exports more than 50 billion cubic metres of gas to international markets, and it hopes to increase this figure to 85 billion cubic metres by 2015.

                            As part of a new strategy for breaking into the global gas market, Sonatrach has decided to export 50% of its gas destined for external consumption through pipelines and 50% through massive gas and oil tankers headed primarily towards US and Asian markets.

                            Meziane asserted that, "Our interest is no longer directed solely towards European nations."

                            In Washington, Khelil and Bodman also confirmed that Algeria and the US would sign a co-operation agreement on civilian nuclear energy early next month. Khelil said the agreement will allow for exchanges of experts and the development of operations techniques at the Argentine-built Es Salam reactor in Ain Oussera, Djelfa province and the Chinese-designed Nour reactor in Dararia, west of Algiers.

                            The Algerian minister’s statements came just weeks after French president Nicolas Sarkozy indicated his country’s readiness to assist Algeria in developing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

                            Comment


                            • May 19, 2007 -- Sonatrach and the consortium made up of the French group Total and the Spanish company Cepsa have announced a new gas discovery in the Timimoun perimeter in south-western Algeria.

                              According to the Algerian hydrocarbons company Sonatrach, this new discovery should be added to that already made in the Hassi Mahdjid perimeter and to the positive results recorded in the delineation wells of Irharene-5 and Hassi yakour-3 in the Algerian south.

                              This brings to 8 the number of gas discoveries made the Sonatrach group in the current year with 5 discoveries in partnership and 3 others on its own.

                              Comment



                              • Le ministre de l’Energie et des Mines, Chakib Khelil, a révélé hier que l’Algérie étaient en train d’étudier et d’analyser les conditions soumises par la commission Espagnole de l’Energie, dans le cadre du projet du gazoduc « Medgaz », des conditions qu’il a qualifié de « contraignantes », précisant qu’elles pouvaient entraîner la révision du projet.

                                Lors d’une conférence de presse, M. Khelil a appelé la commission Espagnole à revoir ces conditions, soulignant que l’annonce du septième appel d’offres se fera à la fin de cette année, la priorité sera donnée aux investisseurs qui partagent les mêmes intérêts que Sonatrach.

                                Khelil a qualifié les conditions de la commission Espagnole de « contraignantes », car cette dernière a approuvé la prolongation de la contribution de Sonatrach dans le projet à 36% dans un premier temps avant que la compagnie Algérienne ne concède 10% en faveur de la compagnie Espagnole « Gaz Natural ». Il a estimé que la commission pouvait revoir ces conditions, ce qui fera en sorte que le projet avance. Il a, par ailleurs, souligné la possibilité d’un changement du taux d’actions des compagnies prenant part au projet, et ce après les changements survenus à la tête de certaines d’entre elles.

                                En ce qui concerne la révision des prix du gaz sur le marché Européen, le ministre a déclaré que les discussions n’ont connu aucune avancée, pour ce qui est de la proposition du président Français, Nicolas Sarkozy, pour fusionner « Gaz de France » et Suez ou établir un partenariat avec Sonatrach, le ministre a affirmé que la compagnie Algérienne était prête à étudier la proposition, il a également ouvert la porte aux Français dans le domaine de la coopération nucléaire.

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