Algeria’s Sonatrach prepares to resume oil operations in Libya

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Jan 3 (Reuters) – Algeria’s national oil company Sonatrach is preparing to resume suspended oil projects in Libya, the state news agency APS reported on Monday.

The company is currently working with its partners in Libya to create safe conditions for its workers and equipment, Sonatrach’s CEO Toufik Hakkar said in an interview with state TV channel AL24 News.

Visits to Libya are planned before the end of February to negotiate Sonatrach’s return, he said.

According to the weekly energy newsletter Middle East Economic Survey (MEES), Sonatrach was forced to abandon its exploration activities on the Libyan side of the Algeria-Libya border in 2014 due to the deteriorating security situation.

Sonatrach had made “a number of promising discoveries” up until that point, MEES reported in May.

In Sunday’s interview Hakkar added that Sonatrach also intends to invest an estimated $40 billion in its energy sector between 2022 and 2026.

“The largest share of these investments will be directed to exploration and production in order to maintain national production capabilities,” Hakkar said.

Around 95% of the North African state’s foreign revenues are from oil and gas sales.

In 2021, the state-oil firm exported hydrocarbons worth more than $34.5 bln, a 70% increase from the previous year, Hakkar said.

(Reporting by Moataz Mohamed in Cairo; writing by Lina Najem; editing by Jason Neely and Louise Heavens)

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