Long-awaited amendments to Algeria's energy law are expected to be finalised by early next year, Energy Minister Mustapha Guitouni said on Thursday.
The North African OPEC member nation has been preparing changes to its hydrocarbon law in a bid to attract foreign investors that have stayed away in recent years, citing bureaucracy and tough terms.
State energy firm Sonatrach's CEO said earlier this week Algeria has hired consultancies, including U.S. law firm Curtis Mallet-Prevost, Colt&Mosle LLP to help amend the law.
"The amended hydrocarbon law will be ready by January or February 2019," Guitouni said on state radio.
The law is closely watched by foreign energy firms since the first amendment plans were announced in 2017.
Guitouni has previously said amendments would include tax incentives and the alleviation of administrative procedures to improve the attractiveness of the oil and gas sector after previous failed attempts to bring in enough foreign investors, affecting output and exports.
Algeria awarded just four of 31 oil and gas field blocks on offer to foreign consortiums in 2014. In 2011, it received bids for only two fields out of 10.
"The amendments will followed with projects," Guitouni said in apparent reference to new licensing rounds.
Algeria currently produces more than 1 million bpd of oil and 135 billion cubic metres of gas per year, with growing volumes going to meet domestic demand, which has hit exports.
(Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed; editing by Ulf Laessing/David Evans) ((Ulf.Laessing@thomsonreuters.com))