Daily News  :: North Africa

Algeria’s oil firm boasts $8bn profit

Published: 04-DEC-06

Algiers - Algeria's national oil company Sonatrach posted a record $8bn profit in 2005, up 68 percent from 2004 thanks to higher oil prices, according to its annual report on Saturday.

Turnover was $49bn, of which $45.7bn was from foreign sales.

Algeria's Sahara Blend oil sold for an average price of $54.59 in 2005 compared to $38.52 the previous year.

"All the financial ratios indicate a continued and sustained improvement of Sonatrach's economic profitability and of its solvency," Sonatrach's chairman Mohamed Meziane said.

Meanwhile, the company bumped up production by 4 percent in 2005, to 232.3 million tonnes of oil equivalent.

Sonatrach's associates produced 10.4 million tonnes of oil equivalent last year, 13 percent more than in 2004, the report said.

They extracted 9.34 million tonnes of crude oil, 0.57 million tonnes of liquefied petroleum gas and 0.34 million tonnes of condensates.

Sonatrach's associates increased by 60 percent, to $4.4bn, last year. The turnover must in principle be invested locally.

The company also sliced its debt by 69 percent in 2005, with external debt reduced to $642mn, it said.

Meanwhile, the company replacing Sonatrach in establishing the framework for oil exploration in Algeria announced on Saturday it would be up and running sometime next year.

Among other things, the new state company Alnaft is tasked with promoting investments and managing a database of the country's oil sector, delivering prospecting permits and clinching contracts with foreign partners.

Alnaft has identified the Unites States oil services company Schlumberger to launch and manage a hydrocarbon data base over five years, Betata said. Sapa-AFP

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