Algeria to launch first open licensing round

Algeria will soon launch a tender offer for hydrocarbon exploration concessions, it was officially announced in Algiers. This will be the country's first open licensing round.


ALGIERS�Algeria will soon launch a tender offer for hydrocarbon exploration concessions, it was officially announced in here. This will be the country's first open licensing round.

Energy and Mines Minister Chakib Khelil, in an interview with the State News Agency, noted that the licensing round approach "would avoid the slowness of discussions" usual in the negotiation of this kind of contract. The operation would also be used as a test for the passing of a new law on hydrocarbons now being studied by various authorities before being submitted to the Algerian energy council for final approval, he said.

No details were given on the concessions to be offered.

The new law, which includes partial privatization of the national oil company Sonatrach, also provides for the creation of a national agency in charge of organizing tender offers for exploration blocks and petroleum concessions.

With the creation of this agency, Sonatrach would have to compete with foreign companies for Algerian permits.

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