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  • ALGERIA , May 23 (KUNA) -- Brazilian Minister of Mines and Energy, Silas Rondeau, will pay a four-day visit to Algeria on Friday to hold talks with his Algerian counterpart, Chakib Khelil, and the Director of Algeria's national oil company Sonatrach, Mohamed Meziane.

    The meeting will be also attended by members of the Algerian government, an official statement said here today.

    The signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Brazilian national oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) and Sonatrach is also included on the meeting agenda.

    Algeria was the second trade partner to Brazil in Africa in 2005. It is also a main provider of oil and gas to Brazil.

    Comment


    • 23 mai 2007 -- Le ministre algérien de l'Energie et des Mines Chakib Khelil a exclu mercredi une augmentation de la production de l'OPEP pour freiner la hausse des prix qui avoisinent les 70 dollars le baril, leur niveau le plus élevé depuis neuf mois.

      "La flambée actuelle des prix du pétrole n'est pas due à l'insuffisance de l'offre", a estimé le ministre dans une déclaration à Londres, rapportée par l'agence algérienne APS.

      M. Khelil participe dans la capitale britannique à une rencontre internationale sur l'énergie.

      "L'OPEP ne peut intervenir pour un problème conjoncturel comme le recul de la production du Nigeria et décider d'augmenter la production des pays membres", a ajouté le ministre, qui est également vice-président de l'Organisation des pays exportateurs de pétrole.

      Pour le ministre algérien, "la principale raison de la hausse actuelle des prix est le recul du stock des produits distillés, notamment l'essence, du fait de l'interruption du fonctionnement de certaines raffineries pour maintenance".

      "Le manque de produits distillés sera comblé par le redémarrage des raffineries qui ont suffisamment de réserves de brut, et le marché n'a pas besoin d'être approvisionné davantage", a-t-il poursuivi, en accusant "les spéculateurs d'avoir exploité les appréhensions autour des marchés pétroliers pour augmenter les prix".

      Comment


      • Italian company Ansaldo and French group Alstom won bids for the construction of three power plants in Algeria, APS quotes Algeria's national electricity company, Sonelgaz, as saying in a statement on Tuesday (May 22nd). Ansaldo will carry out two projects in Batna and Arbaa, while Alstom will build the power plant in Relizane. The results of five other bids for the construction of power plants in the port of Algiers, Annaba, M'sila, Koudet Edraouch and Terga will be revealed by the end of May, Sonalgaz said.

        Comment


        • ALGIERS (Thomson Financial) - Algerian Energy Minister Chakib Khelil has ruled out an increase in OPEC crude oil production to curb prices that are close to 70 usd a barrel.

          'The current spike in oil prices is not a result of insufficient supply,' Khelil was quoted by the APS news agency as saying in London, where he was attending an international energy forum.

          Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting, the Algerian minister who is also vice president of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, added: 'OPEC cannot intervene in problems like cuts in Nigerian production and decide to increase the output of its (other) member countries.'

          'The main reason for the present increase is the decrease in distillate stocks, petrol in particular, as a result of shutdowns at some refineries for maintenance.'

          Khelil also said that 'the lack of distillate products will be compensated for by the resumption of operations at refineries which have sufficient reserves of crude, the market does not need to supply any more.'

          He charged that 'speculators have exploited fears in oil markets to hike prices.'

          The Algerian minister also claimed that Spain had blocked talks held to revise natural gas prices and the access of Algerian energy company Sonatrach to the Spanish market.

          'Algeria expressed its desire to move the negotiations beyond their current blocked state, but received no responses to propositions that were transmitted officially to Spain,' APS quoted him as saying.

          Algeria wants to increase the price of its natural gas sold to Spain by 1 usd per 27 cubic meters to bring it into line with the market average.

          Spain imports almost 9 bln cubic meters of Algerian gas annually.

          Sonatrach, meanwhile, has been limited by the Spanish government to selling only 1 bln cubic meters of gas in Spain, far less than the 3 bln sought by the Algerian company.

          Comment



          • Jeudi 24 Mai 2007 -- Le ministre de l’Energie et des Mines, Chakib Khelil, a imputé hier, à la partie espagnole, la responsabilité du «blocage» des renégociations algéro-espagnoles sur les prix du gaz. Il a expliqué que l’Algérie a exprimé la volonté de faire sortir les négociations de l’impasse, en faisant des propositions qu’elle a officiellement communiquées aux Espagnols, mais qu’elle n’a pas eu de réponse. Chakib Khelil, cité par l’APS, s’exprimait en marge d’une conférence sur l’énergie tenue à Londres.

            L’Algérie a, a-t-il souligné, informé les Espagnols qu’elle ne peut en aucun cas accepter les décisions «unilatérales» prises par la commission espagnole de l’énergie, sans l’avoir, au préalable, consultée. Des décisions, a dit le ministre, qui réduisent la possibilité pour Sonatrach de commercialiser directement son gaz, via sa filiale en Espagne, prétextant des «appréhensions» en matière de «sécurité énergétique».

            L’Algérie a reproché à la-dite commission d’avoir pris des mesures restrictives pour les activités de Sonatrach, les qualifiant de «discriminatoires» à l’égard de la compagnie algérienne, par rapport aux facilités accordées à une quarantaine de compagnies étrangères activant dans le domaine gazier en Espagne. Khelil s’est interrogé sur le mutisme de la Commission européenne face à cette tendance «protectionniste flagrante». Les décisions de la commission espagnole de l’énergie concernant les conditions relatives au gazoduc reliant l’Algérie et l’Espagne (Medgaz) constituent, une menace pour la concrétisation de ce projet.

            La commission avait pris une série de décisions relatives aux conditions d’exploitation du gazoduc, notamment l’obligation faite pour la partie algérienne de garantir une capacité supplémentaire au gazoduc. Qualifiée d’injuste par la partie algérienne, cette condition pourrait influer sur l’opportunité de la réalisation du gazoduc Medgaz. Les appréhensions mises en avant par la commission espagnole de l’énergie sont «infondées et rien de concret» ne milite en faveur de ces appréhensions, d’autant que l’Espagne sait parfaitement que l’Algérie est une source d’énergie sûre et veille toujours à honorer intégralement ses engagements.

            La preuve, l’Algérie avait en décembre 2005 répondu à l’appel à l’aide de l’Espagne qui avait demandé des quantités additionnelles de gaz naturel pour faire face au déficit engendré alors par une consommation exceptionnelle du fait d’un hiver rigoureux, bien qu’il n’existait aucune disposition dans les accords entre les deux parties obligeant l’Algérie à répondre à une telle demande. S’il y a une partie qui devrait exprimer des appréhensions, c’est bien l’Algérie dont la majeure partie des exportations de gaz est destinée à l’Europe, a noté le ministre de l’Energie et des Mines.

            Et d’ajouter que l’Algérie «veille» à ce que l’Espagne reste un marché permanent pour ses exportations gazières. Pour lui, la véritable sécurité énergétique de l’Europe passe par l’abandon de la tendance protectionniste en matière énergétique qui fait des sociétés nationales des pays membres de l’UE l’axe central de toute activité de commercialisation de l’énergie. C’est, a-t-il expliqué, la libération du marché énergétique dans les pays de l’UE qui garantira la sécurité énergétique, car le marché sera ouvert à la concurrence et à la commercialisation directe des produits énergétiques.

            Les renégociations des prix du gaz dont il est question ont été entamées il y a deux ans. Elles ne concernent en fait qu’environ le tiers du gaz algérien exporté vers l’Espagne. L’objectif recherché est de réajuster le prix du gaz, considéré aujourd’hui par la partie algérienne comme étant «très bas» par rapport au prix du marché. L’Algérie veut augmenter le prix de vingt pour cent en deux étapes sur une année, de façon à limiter l’impact de ce réajustement sur le consommateur final espagnol. Les renégociations en question ont été décidées dans le cadre de contrats à long terme. Elles ont été sur le point d’aboutir, il y a quinze mois, avant que la partie espagnole ne fasse marche arrière.

            Comment


            • PARIS (Thomson Financial) - Gaz de France (GDF) chief executive Jean-Francois Cirelli said he foresees his group developing further alliances, including possible capital tie-ups, after its planned merger with Suez.

              'We think that Suez-GDF is a good opportunity... once we have completed this step, will there be others? Of course,' he told shareholders at GDF's AGM.

              Regarding potential partners, the chief executive pointed out that Total has already said it is not interested in a tie-up.

              Asked about Algerian gas producer Sonatrach - which new French president Nicolas Sarkozy has previously suggested as an alternative partner for GDF instead of Suez - Cirelli called it a 'major partner' of GDF and said their partnership 'should strengthen since it is in the interest of Sonatrach and also in the interest of GDF.'

              Reacting to prime minister Francois Fillon's comments on the GDF-Suez merger situation, he noted that president Sarkozy would announce his position in the coming weeks. Cirelli also told the press after the AGM that he had not had any contacts with the new government 'at this stage'.

              Speaking on Europe 1 radio, prime minister Fillon said the proposed GDF-Suez merger 'makes sense' but that there are 'other options', adding that the government will take a decision on which option to support 'at the end of June/beginning of July'.

              During today's AGM, Jean-Francois Cirelli also reiterated his backing for the Suez deal, arguing that it 'will allow us to grow faster in certain activities, notably electricity, and is currently the project with the best fit for Gaz de France.'

              The merger agreement between GDF and Suez has been held up by the French courts until July 1 at the earliest, when France's energy markets are fully liberalised.

              Comment


              • (Il Sole 24 Ore Radiocor) - Milano, 25 mag - Il gruppo Eni, congiuntamente a Statoil, Total Repsol e Cespa ha avviato una nuova societa', in partnership con il Governo algerino, che avra' il compito di contribuire alla salvaguardia della sponda Sud del Mediterraneo dall'inquinamento da idrocarburi. La societa' di chiama Osprec. Le restanti quote di capitale sono detenute Il capitale sociale di 600mila dollari e' detenuto per il 49,5% dalla societa' di Stato algerina Sonatrach, il 17% dalla Sonangol (Angola) e il 10% dalla Samir (Marocco). L'obiettivo e' di affiancare alle misure nazionali di prevenzione e di protezione dell'ambiente, anche uno strumento a livello regionale per la lotta contro le minacce ambientali causate da idrocarburi. Osprec prevede un'opera di sensibilizzazione delle societa' petrolifere verso possibili danni ambientali e l'elaborazione di un piano di prevenzione e di intervento comune che raggruppi i Paesi che si affacciano sul Mediterraneo. Il Consiglio di amministrazione e' rappresentato da quattro consiglieri Sonatrach, uno Samir, due Sonangol, e due per l'insieme dei restanti azionisti.

                Fonte: Ambasciata d'Italia ad Algeri

                Comment


                • MADRID, May 25, 2007 (Thomson Financial) - The government said it has today authorised Sonatrach to have voting rights corresponding to the 16% stake recently acquired by the Algerian oil and gas company in Medgaz.

                  Sonatrach was already a core shareholder in the pipeline project with a 20%stake.

                  Other partners include Iberdrola SA and Cia Espanola de Petroleos SA, each with 20%, and Endesa SA and Gaz de France, with 12% each.

                  Medgaz is constructing a second gas pipeline running between Spain and Algeria.

                  Comment


                  • Update:

                    MADRID, May 25, 2007 (Thomson Financial) - The government said it has today authorised Sonatrach to have voting rights corresponding to the 16%stake recently acquired by the Algerian oil and gas company in Medgaz.

                    Sonatrach was already a core shareholder in the pipeline project with a 20% stake with the corresponding voting rights.

                    In a statement, the Industry Minister said the authorisation is conditional on Sonatrach taking all the necessary steps to complete the pipeline project and begin operations in line with the guidelines for the gas and electricity sectors.

                    In May, energy sector watchdog CNE authorised Sonatrach to increase its holding in Medgaz to 36% from 20 with eight conditions, including having the right to veto certain of the company's decisions which could affect Spain's public security.

                    Other Medgaz partners include Iberdrola SA and Cia Espanola de Petroleos SA, each with 20% and Endesa SA and Gaz de France, with 12% each.

                    Medgaz is constructing a second gas pipeline running between Spain and Algeria.

                    Comment



                    • NEW DELHI, May 26, 2007 : The US-supported government in Baghdad has just delivered what might be termed a ‘crude’ blow to India. The Iraqi government has refused to honour an earlier deal relating to the Tuba oil block in Southern Iraq, awarded to the unlikely combine of ONGC and RIL by the deposed Saddam Hussein regime. The Tuba block will be bid again, according to Baghdad.

                      Although the consortium had bagged the exploration project during the Saddam reign, the block’s formal handover was still to happen. Visiting Iraqi oil minister Hussain al-Shahristani held that the block, which was secured by the Indian companies during the previous regime, was not formally awarded.

                      On the Tuba oilfield, Mr al-Shahristani said: “Contract (for the field) was not signed and so it will be put up in international competitive bidding round and Indian companies will have to bid for it.” A consortium of OVL (ONGC’s overseas arm), RIL and Algeria’s Sonatrach had been shortlisted in 2000 for the block.

                      ONGC Videsh (OVL) may, however, be allowed to retain its other oil block (Block-8), which was also awarded during the previous regime. “The decision of awarding Block-8 to ONGC may have to reviewed to restructure it in conformity with the new law,” Mr al-Shahristani said.

                      The contract for Block 8 (bordering Kuwait) will have to be amended in accordance with the new oil and gas law likely to be enacted in the next two months. The legislation has been cleared by the Cabinet and it is awaiting Parliament’s nod, he said after a meeting of the Indo-Iraq Joint Working Group in New Delhi.

                      “All contracts signed by the previous regime or Kurdish regional government will have to be revisited and amended to make them compliant with our new law,” the minister said .

                      It is learnt that OVL, which has been the contractor for Block-8, an oil producing block, had already done some field development work before war broke out in Iraq in 2003. “Discovery of oil in the block was made, but it was not appraised,” an OVL official said.

                      Mr al-Shahristani said Iraq would announce new rounds of bidding for hydrocarbon assets. “The first round of bidding is expected by the end of 2007,” he said. Iraq will invite bids for oil and gas blocks in every six months.

                      While Iraq categorically said it would not favour India in any way in getting oil blocks, it sought the help of Indian companies to rebuild its refineries. It is understood that India expressed reservation in helping Iraq as these refineries would eventually compete with its own in export markets.

                      “They should give us oilfields on a nomination basis if they want us to build refineries. There should be reciprocity,” an official said. The three-day joint commission meeting was led by petroleum minister Murli Deora.

                      Mr al-Shahristani said Iraq was willing to supply long-term crude oil at discounted price to companies building refineries. He, however, ruled out giving fields on a nomination basis, citing Iraqi law.

                      Comment


                      • May 26, 2007 -- Algerian state-owned energy company Sonatrach and the Brazilian oil company Petrobras signed, on May 26, a Memorandum of Understanding to work together in several energy fields in addition to an agreement to buy and sell liquefied natural gas.

                        The Memorandum of Understanding includes researches and exploiting liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons offshore and onshore in addition to refining, petrochemistry and training.

                        The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the CEO of Sonatrach, Mr. Mohamed Meziane and the executive official of the Brazilian company, Mr. Sergio Gabrielli with the attendance of the Algerian minister of energy and mines, Mr. Chakib Khelil.

                        The agreement deals with purchasing and buying liquefied natural gas in the frame of the free market to the Brazilian market.

                        According to this agreement, Petrobras considers importing liquefied natural gas as from 2008 through two floating re-gasification terminals projects at Guanabara (Rio de Janeiro) and Pecém (the state of Ceará).

                        Comment


                        • May 27, 2007 -- The most important fixed economic development that has not been affected by political differences is the transportation of Algerian natural gas to Spain via Morocco.

                          This happened in the years of political ease between the two neighboring countries and was met in Spain by engaging in a larger project that was being depended upon for marketing Algerian gas at a profitable cost in Europe. It seemed then that the project embarrassed the European partners; at least the gas suppliers must not put barriers to agricultural and textile products coming from countries of the southern Mediterranean countries. Trade should either be open and reciprocal, or something else that has nothing to do with the prospects of partnership and the terms of development assistance. Just as supplying oil and gas reflects the growing need of the industrial countries, the preferential dimension in the Maghreb-EU relations is supposed to be crystallized in procedures allowing a similar flow of goods, products and people within a framework of respect for relevant laws. However, the EU regulations give access to products only, and stringently restrict the movement of people.

                          The Algerian-Spanish crisis over raising gas prices appears normal from its commercial and economic aspect as long as the items of such agreements take into account the development in prices according to the mechanism of supply and demand. It is possible in such cases to resort to the agreement's legal reference, or request arbitration and dialogue to overcome difficulties, so long as the matter is related to the reconsideration of only some parts of the agreement, not the whole of it.

                          Morocco, in turn, was linked to Spain with a coastal fishing agreement. As Spain joined the European Common Market, Morocco saw that such a crucial agreement would be more effective with the EU. Although the negotiations to renew the agreement were arduous, the obvious political understanding between Rabat and Madrid helped to bridge the gap.

                          In other words, political understanding helps to contain the transit economic crises. The Arab Maghreb gas project used to be seen as a firm economic base that could withstand political upheavals, but it seems that political disagreements could hamper economic projects. In North Africa in particular, common ties, interests and objectives could not help overcome the aforementioned obstacle ahead of the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU). The status of the borders and the regional economic situation were less isolated than they have been after the establishment of the union - at least in terms of border economy recovery, which has become a source of concern in light of the growing illegal emigration, flourishing smuggling trade and drugs, as well as the increasing risk of terrorism.

                          Now Algeria is alone in the face of a crisis with Spain. It is well known that coordinated standpoints, at least with Morocco via which the Algerian gas passes, could have helped strike a balance in views, even in case the Algerian stance is seen as an expression of sovereignty, an issue in which no other party should have the right to interfere. When the Spaniards say that their relationship with Morocco will not be at the expense of Algeria and that they will not open up on the latter at the expense of the former, they are reducing the primary concerns of this balance by associating their dynamic strategy with the presence of interests.

                          In a very short time, Madrid appeared on the scene in North Africa during the era of former Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar in an attempt to compete with the traditional influence of Paris. However, the incumbent socialist Prime Minister, Jose Luis Zapatero, has become certain that the European space and accord with France have no alternative. When the Sahara Agreement, which includes France, Spain, Morocco and Algeria, was put up, Zapatero was more confident that it was the wide path for rearranging relations with the North African countries. Today, Spanish Foreign Minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos, says that there is a new dynamism. Will the Maghreb States be engaged in this dynamism and the Spanish-Algerian gas crisis become just a station for the Algerian negotiator to seek Moroccan support?

                          Comment



                          • Le gouvernement Espagnol a répondu, dans un communiqué, aux dernières déclarations du ministre de l’Energie et des Mines, M. Chakib Khalil, qui l’avait rendu responsable du blocage des négociations bilatérales, en demandant à Sonatrach de respecter les conditions imposées par la commission espagnole de l’énergie dans le cadre du projet Medgaz, conditions qui avaient été qualifiées de « contraignantes » par le ministre Algérien, qui avait appelé à leur révision.

                            Avec ces nouvelles données, se confirme la thèse du ministre qui évoque la possibilité, pour l’Algérie, de revoir ses comptes dans un projet qui a été classé parmi les plus importants qui réunissent les deux parties algérienne et espagnole dans le domaine de l’énergie, avec une capacité de transport qui atteint, dans la première étape, 8 milliards de mètres cubes par an, et cela malgré le fait que l’Algérie détient, à présent, la plus grande part du projet avec 36%.

                            Par ailleurs, le gouvernement espagnol a appelé la Sonatrach à « entreprendre les démarches nécessaires afin de réaliser le projet Medgaz et sa mise en vigueur, conformément à ce qui est apparu dans le document de planification des secteurs du gaz et de l’électricité, et les révisions y afférentes. Le ministre de l’Energie et des Mines avait précisé que les décisions prises dans le cadre de l’augmentation des capacités de transport et des quantités pompées dans le gazoduc, et qui ne doivent pas descendre en dessous de 80% pour la Sonatrach, avaient été adoptées par la partie Espagnole sans consulter la partie algérienne.

                            Par ailleurs, le même communiqué a indiqué que la conformité de l’autorisation délivrée par le gouvernement Espagnol à Sonatrach est liée, également, à « la conservation des systèmes sociaux fondamentaux en vigueur, et à l’accord signé par les actionnaires ».

                            Les travaux du projet, dont le coût global est estimé à 900 millions d’euros, devraient démarrer à la fin de l’année 2007.

                            Comment


                            • Algiers, May 27 (Prensa Latina) Peruvian Deputy Foreign Minister Gonzalo Gutierrez Reinel urged the Algerian managerial sector to increase investments in the Andean nation and its Peruvian counterpart to do the same in the North African country.

                              The larger exponent of the activity the general secretary of Peruvian Foreign Affairs tries to promote is the 10-percent participation of the state Algerian company Sonatrach in the Camisea project, which exploits gas fields in the southeastern zone of Peru, in production since 2004.

                              Reinier made this statement after a working meeting with this nation's Foreign Minister Moahemed Bedjaoui, where both officials reviewed bilateral diplomatic relations.

                              At the end of the encounter, Gutierrez Reinel expressed his government's satisfaction with the current state of those links and exhorted reinforcing them in the political, diplomatic and economic spheres.

                              Comment

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