Sonatrach, Algeria’s government-owned oil company, granted contracts worth $206 million to a series of American companies for “cementing and pumping services,”and oil drilling, according to a reports by Reuters on, which cited a document from the state-owned Algerian company, Sonatrach.

Schlumberger obtained a $75 million contract, while Weatherford received $11 million in new business. Baker Hughes secured a $50 million agreement through its subsidiary BJSP – 51 percent of which is owned by Sonatrach.

In late April, Reuters reported that another official document said Sonatrach awarded Schlumberger a $25 million contract to provide technical assistance and National Oilwell Varco succeeded in its bid for a $45 million contract for oil drilling.

Attracting foreign investments has become a key goal for Algeria in order to boost the oil and gas sector – which makes up a third of its economy and over 95 percent of its export revenues.

The ongoing drop in oil prices has cut into the North African country’s national budget, causing the government to suspend the construction of new infrastructure projects and implementing a hiring freeze on 41,000 jobs in the public sector. As the economic crisis continues, Sonatrach has said its “ambitious” investment plan will continue in a bid to increase oil and gas production.

American trade relations will Algeria have been waning over the past few years. In 2010, the U.S. imported more than 186 million barrels of crude oil from Algeria, but by 2015, the figure had shrunk to just under 40 million barrels, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

By Zainab Calcuttawala

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