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Oil, Gas, Petrochemical and Energy Field Specialized Channel
Oil, Gas, Petrochemical and Energy Field Specialized Channel
Oil, Gas, Petrochemical and Energy Field Specialized Channel

Algeria in Talks with Oil Majors to Start Trading Venture

One of the aims of Sonatrach’s new venture would be to supply crude to the Italian refinery.

Sonatrach is in talks with oil majors and trading firms to start a trading joint venture after the Algerian state energy company reached a deal this year to buy its first overseas refinery, its chief executive told Reuters.

A decision on forming the venture had been expected at the end of July but could be delayed by a month, two sources said.

“The foreign firm will have small shares in the trade joint venture,” Sonatrach CEO Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour told Reuters in Algiers.

Potential partners, which have held talks with Sonatrach in recent weeks, include BP, Total, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, Repsol and Vitol , the world’s biggest independent oil trader, the sources said.

Vitol, BP and Shell declined to comment. Total, Chevron and Repsol did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Sonatrach’s expansion into refining and trading reflects a shift among national oil companies that for decades focussed on producing oil and gas, while leaving marketing to third parties.

Sonatrach’s move to form a venture is one of several steps aimed at easing the burden of its hefty fuel import bill that tripled year-on-year in 2017 to a record $2.5 billion.

It signed a contract this year with Vitol to receive products in exchange for crude, the first such deal in decades, and said in May it had agreed to buy ExxonMobil’s 175,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Augusta refinery in Sicily, Italy.

One of the aims of Sonatrach’s new venture would be to supply crude to the Italian refinery and help manage the sale of oil products such as gasoline, diesel and jet fuel to Algeria and other markets, the sources said.

 

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