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Algeria Expects in Amenas Gas Plant to Return to Normal

Source: Reuters 11/11/2014, Location: Africa

Algeria's In Amenas gas plant is expected to return to full output capacity early next year following a 2013 attack by militants, Energy Minister Youcef Yousfi said on Tuesday.

The plant accounted for about 11.5 percent of Algeria's natural gas output before the attack, and a return to full operations would free more gas for the North African OPEC country to export.

Algeria relies heavily on oil and gas to fund economic development and social programmes but output has declined in recent years. A recent oil bidding around failed to attract large-scale investment.

The In Amenas plant's output capacity was 9 billion cubic metres before the attack, and two of its three trains have already resumed production.

"The third train may restart in early 2015. All our partners have returned," Yousfi told state radio, without giving further details on the return of foreign contractors to the site.

BP and Norway's Statoil had kept their permanent workers away from the plant, which they operate jointly with Algeria's state energy firm Sonatrach.

An Islamist militant attack on the plant in January 2013 killed 40 people, most of them foreign nationals. Algeria has since increased security at the site to help ease company concerns.



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