Sonatrach Has New CEO, Follows 12% Fall in LNG Exports

Algerian state Sonatrach has a new CEO, Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour.

State news agency APS March 20 reported the appointment by Algerian energy minister Noureddine Boutarfa as having been announced at a Sonatrach board meeting that morning. It means that Amine Mazouzi has been replaced after less than two years in office.

Kaddour has an engineering degree from the US Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was CEO of US-Algerian contractor joint venture Brown&Root-Condor from 1994 to 2006, although his LinkedIn page prior to March 20 described him as a "freelance" international consultant. 

Sonatrach's new CEO Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour (left) shakes hands with his predecessor Amine Mazouzi (Photo credit: Algerian energy ministry)

Sonatrach oil and gas production in the first two months of 2017 was 2.2mn barrels/day (32.6mn metric tons for the period) of oil equivalent, up 4% year on year - this included 22.4bn m³ produced in January-February 2017, up 6%. The data were reported by APS March 19 which also cited Sonatrach saying that, once the 466-km GR6 pipeline in the Sahara is completed, it will be have an extra 4bn m³/yr gas export capacity starting from May 2017.

The higher gas output was despite unscheduled outages at Sonatrach’s LNG export plants, which reduced deliveries to customers in France, Spain, Greece and Turkey during a very cold period in early January.

Skikda outage contributed to fall in Algerian LNG exports

APS reported that Sonatrach’s production at LNG trains GL1Z, GL2Z and GL1K was lower in January 2017, particularly due to an unscheduled outage at [Skikda] mega-train GL1K lasting from December 29 2016 until January 15 2017 for work on the MDEA (methyl di-ethanolamine) exchangers.

So, despite the overall rise in gas production, Sonatrach LNG exports were only 4.3mn mt in January-February 2017, 12% less than in the first two months of last year.


The March 18 solar project stone-laying ceremony, with Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi in foreground (left photo), and standing far right (right photo) standing next to Sonatrach ex-CEO Amine Mazouzi (Photo credit: Sonatrach)

Eni solar project

Meanwhile on March 18, Algeria’s energy minister Noureddine Boutarfa, Sonatrach's then CEO Amine Mazouzi and Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi all attended a foundation stone-laying event at the Bir Rebaa North oilfield for a photovoltaic plant that Eni and Sonatrach are co-developing there.

Eni said it will have 10 MW capacity and be used to contribute to the national grid, enhancing Algeria’s decarbonisation, and follows on from an agreement both firms signed in November 2016. Eni said its current net equity production in Algeria is around 100,000 boe/d.


Mark Smedley


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