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Algeria Oil, Gas Export Volumes down 8.9 Pct in Q1

Source: Reuters 8/19/2015, Location: Africa

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Algeria's oil and gas export volumes are continuing to decline, dropping 8.9 percent in the first quarter of 2015 from a year earlier, weakened by stagnant output and a sharp rise in domestic demand, the energy ministry said.

The trend adds to problems Algeria is facing from a fall in global oil prices that has already cut into the North African OPEC member's state finances.

Algeria's government expects energy earnings, which make up 60 percent of its budget, will drop by 50 percent to $34 billion this year, mainly due to the slide in global crude prices.

Overall oil and gas exports reached 23.4 million tonnes of oil equivalent in the first three months of 2015, a decrease of 8.9 percent from a year earlier, the energy ministry said in the latest edition of its magazine "Algeria Energy". Energy earnings fell by 44 percent to $8.7 billion, it said.

On Tuesday, Algeria's National Statistics Bureau said natural gas exports dropped 17 percent to 27.44 billion cubic metres last year, while crude oil and condensate volumes fell 16 percent to 28.355 million tonnes in 2014. It attributed the decline to a 0.6 drop in output in 2014 that followed a 5.5 percent fall in the previous year. It said energy production has been in decline since 2006.

Increasing demand from the population of 40 million, mainly for natural gas, has also helped reduce energy exports.

Natural gas consumption jumped 14 percent to 11.3 billion cubic metres in the first quarter this year, the magazine said.

Demand for oil refined products rose 4.9 percent, it said, without providing a figure.

Algeria, a key supplier of gas to Europe, has struggled to attract foreign investment to boost its energy sector. Some foreign investors sees its terms as unattractive.

In 2014, the North African country awarded only four of 31 oil and gas blocks on offer to foreign consortiums. That followed a disappointing bidding round in 2011 when it secured bids for just two of 10 fields in the auction.



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