Posted by: Reuters
Algeria has hired U.S. law firm Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP and other consultancies to help with a new energy law aimed at attracting much-needed investment, the CEO of state energy firm Sonatrach said on Monday.
The OPEC producer, which is also a major gas supplier to Europe, has been trying to attract more foreign investors but firms have been reluctant complaining about bureaucracy and tough terms.
The North African has been working on a new law but it was still unclear when it would be ready as many players were involved, Sonatrach CEO Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour told reporters.
Debate over reforms, such as a new energy law, is often slowed by competing ideas inside a government with a history of state planning and where the ruling old guard remains wary of open up the country.
“I have been told that we have in Algeria 40 million experts in football, but now I found out that we also have 40 million Algerians expert in oil and gas,” Kaddour said.
“But the sooner we have an attractive law, the better,” he said without giving a date. “Foreign firms want to know how much they will get when they will invest.”
Kaddour, a U.S. trained engineer, has been trying to attract foreign firms by fixing legal disputes as Algeria wants to boost oil and gas revenues which halved between 2014 and 2017.
Algeria has struggled in the past to increase oil and gas output without major foreign investment.
(Reporting By Lamine Chikhi Editing by Ulf Laessing and Louise Heavens)