A series of world-scale integrated projects at Skikda and Arzew aimed at reinstating the country as a leading petrochemicals producer is set to be awarded early in 2006, according to Mohamed Meziane, chief executive officer of state energy company Sonatrach. 'We have launched tenders for seven packages and we hope to award contracts by the end of the first quarter 2006,' Meziane told MEED in mid-December.
Expressions of interest were invited early in the year for the multi-billion dollar programme to develop five integrated petrochemicals projects at Arzew in the northwest and Skikda in the northeast, a fuel oil catalytic cracking plant at Skikda and a 300,000-b/d refinery at Tiaret, 200 kilometres west of Algiers (Petrochemicals, MEED Special Report, 28:10:05, pages 48-50).The level of private sector participation in the new developments will be subject to negotiations with the client Sonatrach but most of them will allow international oil companies (IOCs) to take a majority stake.'Our strategy is to take majority ownership in projects where we have a local market and management expertise, but in cases where we are not so experienced we look to bring in a majority foreign partner,' Energy Minister Chakib Khelil told MEED.'The proposed new projects are proving attractive to foreign investors. We have had a lot of interest in the new projects from IOCs - from France, from the US, from Saudi Arabia.'