|25 November, 2019

Algerian energy exports drop 12.52%

Africa's biggest country derives 95% of its foreign revenue from oil and gas sales

Containers sit stacked at a port terminal in Algiers, Algeria July 26, 2018. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Containers sit stacked at a port terminal in Algiers, Algeria July 26, 2018. Image used for illustrative purpose.

REUTERS/ Zohra Bensemra

ALGIERS - Algeria's oil and gas exports fell 12.52% in the first nine months of 2019 to $25.28 billion versus $28.89 at the same period last year, customs figures showed.

Africa's biggest country derives 95% of its foreign revenue from oil and gas sales but it has struggled to increase output and efforts to rein in public spending to make up for lower income have added fuel to a mass protest movement.

The lower house of parliament has passed a new law aimed at making the sector more attractive to international investors who could help boost production, while still retaining a ban on majority foreign ownership of oil or gas projects.

This month Algeria also appointed Kamel Eddine Chikhi as the new chief executive of the state-run oil and gas company, Sonatrach, its tenth head in 19 years.

Big changes in Algeria's energy sector are always politically sensitive, but nine months of mass street protests against the ruling hierarchy and a coming presidential election make them more so.

The army, the most powerful force in Algeria, has pushed for the Dec. 12 election as a way to turn the page on the demonstrations, which in April forced veteran president Abdelaziz Bouteflika from power.

(Reporting By Lamine Chikhi, editing by Angus McDowall) ((angus.mcdowall@thomsonreuters.com; Reuters Messaging: angus.mcdowall.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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