April 24, 2019 / 5:23 PM / 4 months ago

New CEO of Algeria's Sonatrach pledges to boost output, exports

ALGIERS, April 24 (Reuters) - Algerian state energy firm Sonatrach will focus on increasing production and export volumes to help develop the OPEC member country’s oil and gas-reliant economy, its newly-appointed head Rachid Hachichi said in first comments on Wednesday.

Algeria, a major gas supplier to Europe, has been struggling to boost output amid growing domestic consumption and a lack of foreign investment due to unattractive contract terms.

Hachichi, a former chief of production and exploration at Sonatrach, was named on Tuesday as chief executive of the company, replacing Abdelmoumene Ould Kaddour.

Algeria currently produces an estimated 1 million barrels of crude oil per day and 135 cubic meters of gas annually.

Oil and gas account for 94 percent of total exports and 60 percent of the state budget.

In a bid to improve the business climate, the government has drafted a new energy law offering tax incentives and alleviating administrative procedures as part of a bid to cut bureaucracy.

“Sonatrach is the locomotive of the national economy. One of our objectives is to boost production and exports,” Hachichi said in televised remarks. (Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed; editing by David Evans)

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