ALGIERS, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Algeria has attracted 49 offers from international energy companies to build four refineries worth a total $6 billion, a state energy firm Sonatrach source told Reuters on Monday.
Algeria is also considering a petrochemicals partnership with the Saudi Arabia’s SABIC, details of which are expected to be unveiled shortly, the source told Reuters.
Sonatrach has already increased its refining capacity in the past few years by renovating three plants including the Skikda, Arzew, and Algiers refineries and is trying to raise revenues after the crash in oil prices cut its energy earnings by half.
Oil and gas sales provide about 60 percent of state revenues for the OPEC producer, which produces an estimated 30 million tonnes of refined products per year.
“Our plan is to stop importing refined products by 2018,” said the source, who asked not to be named. “Selling refined products rather than crude oil is a good way to boost revenues.”
Skikda, Algeria’s biggest refinery, produces 17 million tonnes of refined oil products per year, Arzew’s plant refines 3.75 million of crude oil, and Algiers’s refinery will reach 3.5 million of products in 2018 versus 2.7 million a year now.
In the south, Sonatrach has two refineries. One in Hassi Messaoud with a capacity 1.1 million tonnes per year, and a second in Adrar, which refines 600,000 tonnes of oil a year.
Two other new refineries, one in Tiaret and a second in Hassi Messaoud, are on scheduled to start refining 5 million tonnes of crude oil each a year. Those two refineries are still in the bidding phase for further construction work. (Reporting by Lamine Chikhi; Editing by Patrick Markey and Louise Ireland)