The deals were announced by the Mohamed Meziane, chief executive officer of Sonatrach, at the World Petroleum Congress in Madrid on 2 July.

The three heads of agreements were concluded with Occidental Petroleum and Sempra Energy, both of the US, and Norway’s StatoilHydro.

Under the deals, Sonatrach will transport liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the US.

According to Meziane, at least a third of Sonatrach’s LNG capacity will be dedicated to countries bordering the Atlantic by 2012.

Algeria currently exports about 25 billion cubic metres (bcm) a year of LNG. There are plans to increase this by 8.5bcm a year through the addition of trains at Skikda and Arzew, due to come on stream by 2012.