Algeria's Sonatrach acquires first European foothold

Algerian state oil company Sonatrach is taking its first foothold in Europe through a three-pronged agreement with Spain's Cepsa in which France's TotalFinaElf SA has a 44% stake.

By an OGJ correspondent

PARIS, Sept. 16 -- Algerian state oil company Sonatrach is taking its first foothold in Europe through a three-pronged agreement with Spain's Cepsa in which France's TotalFinaElf SA has a 44% stake.

Sonatrach has agreed to acquire a 30% interest in Cepsa's affiliate in charge of gas marketing, which is a 50:50 joint venture of Cepsa and TotalFinaElf. The two European firms' shares in the JV will be reduced to 35% each.

Sonatrach will also take a 30% stake in another Cepsa affiliate, in charge of electric power cogeneration. Finally, Cepsa and Sonatrach will set up a trading company for crude oil, called Sonacep. Terms aren't disclosed.

In addition, Sonatrach is involved in the Medgas gas pipeline project, a subsea pipeline from Algeria to Almeria, Spain, in which Cepsa, Spain's Endesa SA, BP PLC, ENI SPA, Gaz de France, and TotalFinaElf are also participating. The consortium that will be charged with implementing the pipeline project is scheduled to be set up in early 2003.

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