Image: BP plc
Mohamed Arkab, Algeria’s Minister of Energy, announced on Tuesday that the final version of a new hydrocarbon law has been drafted and will be submitted to authorities for approval. It covers institutional, contractual, fiscal and environmental terms.
Africa’s third-largest oil and first natural gas producer is looking to revamp its exploration strategy and attract fresh investment. A decline in reserves has been noted in the past few years despite several recent discoveries. Meanwhile, the national demand for hydrocarbon products is increasing and the country is facing a whopping seven percent annual GDP growth.
The draft has been finalized according to the orientations of the Inter-ministerial council and has been handed over to the various ministerial departments for possible add-ons,” said Mr. Arkab. He did not deliver a deadline as to when to expect final approval.
During the announcement, Arkab mentioned the 51/49 rule – which forbids foreign investors from owning north of 49 percent of an Algerian company – would not be withdrawn from the future bill. He further stated “We will not alter the 51/49 rule. However, further amendments will allow us to improve investment conditions from a legal, institutional and fiscal point of view.”
The Minister further stated that the goal of the new law is to counter a “slowdown in new exploration and production contracts” as well as “restore the country’s extractive industries attractiveness, increase production levels and bring in foreign direct investment in the petroleum sector, without threating national sovereignty.”