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ALGIERS, June 1 (Reuters) - Algeria's state energy firm Sonatrach has completed a new natural gas pipeline as it tries to meet local demand and increase exports, state radio reported on Thursday, citing the company's chief executive.
Sonatrach CEO Abdelmoumene Ould Kaddour opened the 536-long pipeline linking the desert areas of Rhourd Ennous and Hassi R'mel on Wednesday. It has a capacity of 12 billion cubic metres per year.
A large portion of the gas transported through the pipeline will be for local consumption, state radio quoted Sonatrach officials as saying.
OPEC member Algeria has been hit by a fall in budget revenues since the decline in crude oil prices, forcing the government to freeze infrastructure projects.
However, authorities have maintained priority projects, mainly in the energy sector, and social welfare programmes.
Algeria has announced plans to increase gas output to 141.3 billion cubic meters (bcm) this year and 143.9 bcm in 2018, from 132.2 bcm in 2016.
Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed; Editing by Susan Fenton