ALGIERS, April 10 Algeria's energy minister will
seek more investment from European Union states and discuss the
renewal of long-term gas supply contracts with EU members during
talks this week in Brussels, the ministry and an Algerian source
said on Monday.
Most of Algeria's long-term gas accords with EU nations are
due to end between 2018 and 2019, just as the North African oil
and gas producer grapples with a slide in crude prices, which
have tumbled from above $100 a barrel in mid-2014 to $55 now.
Energy Minister Nourredine Bouterfa was to meet EU Energy
commissioner Miguel Arias Canete this week to "facilitate and
promote European investments in the sectors including natural
gas, renewables and energy efficiency," the ministry said.
Long-term gas contracts would also be on the agenda, the
source familiar with the matter told Reuters.
State energy firm Sonatrach officials said this year Algeria
would adopt a new approach to its gas contracts, no longer
demanding deals lasting 20 or 25 years and instead seeking
10-year to 15-year contracts.
Algeria, a major gas supplier to Europe, wants more European
investment in its industry but has faced EU calls to cut
bureaucracy and offer more flexibility to investors.
Last year, EU officials and energy firms urged Algeria to
adapt to more competitive energy markets to lift the amount of
gas it pumps north to Europe after years of sliding exports.
With cuts to public spending and energy subsidies, Algeria
managed to lift energy output even as lower oil prices drove
state revenues down to $27.5 billion in 2016 from $60 billion in
Gas exports are expected to exceed 57 billion cubic metres
in 2017, up from 54 billion cubic metres in 2016, Sonatrach
figures show. In 2016, Algeria met 55 percent of Spain's gas
needs, 16 percent of Italy's and 15 percent of Portugal's.
Algeria, which has escaped the turmoil plaguing Libya and
other states in the region, is seen as a reliable gas supplier
for the EU amid tensions with Russia, a major supplier to
(Reporting by Lamine Chikhi; Editing Patrick Markey and Edmund