Algeria signs oil, gas deal as OPEC member seeks to boost sales

Algeria will supply oil and other energy products to Jordan for the first time under a memorandum of understanding signed on Monday, as the OPEC member seeks to diversify sales after years of stagnating oil production.

The agreement with Algeria’s state-run Sonatrach Group covers crude oil, liquefied natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas, Hasan Hiari, head of the natural gas department at Jordan’s Ministry of Energy & Mineral Resources, said in an interview in Amman. Shipments will start this year, he said.

Algeria, Africa’s biggest natural gas producer, has invited international companies to help develop its oil and gas fields as Sonatrach has struggled to raise production after a corruption probe at the company and a deadly al-Qaeda terrorist attack in 2013 at the In Amenas gas field. The nation operated 55 oil rigs in April, an increase in each month since November, according to Baker Hughes Inc. Algeria pumped 1.1 million barrels a day of crude in April, its output little changed little since 2013.

“This is the first time that we are going to get fuel and gas from Algeria,” Hiari said. “We have been seeking this MOU with Algeria as we are keen on diversifying our energy sources.” Algeria is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, while Jordan has almost no energy resources of its own.

Jordan is also looking at solar, wind and nuclear power for future energy needs. By 2025, 48 percent the nation’s electricity will be generated by nuclear reactors, up from 4 percent today, Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour said Monday at an energy conference in Amman. It plans to have 500 megawatts of solar and wind power capacity operational by the end of this year.

-Bloomberg