Algeria steps up oil and gas investment, production: minister.
Algeria on Wednesday announced 45 billion dollars (29 billion euros) of investment in energy production, with ambitious targets for oil and gas output in less than two years. In an interview carried by national press agency APS, originally given to the British publishing and consulting company, Oxford Business Group, energy and mines minister Chakib Khelil said Algeria aims to produce two million barrels of oil per day, and 85 billion cubic metres (over 300 billion cubic feet) of gas in 2010. It currently produces 1.4 billion barrels and 62 billion cubic metres per day, with Khelil -- the sitting Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) president -- adding that three new refineries are slated for construction. <p>In the same interview, Khelil indicated that the 13-member OPEC would raise its annual output by an extra five million barrels per day by 2012, from its present 32 million, roughly 60 percent of world output. Algeria, Libya and Saudi Arabia are among the fastest-growing members of the cartel, Khelil stated. The north African state's commerce minister Amar Boularak also said Wednesday that his country is ripping up an existing trade deal with neighbour Tunisia. A new one which "better meets national interests" is being drawn up, with Boularak critical of what he called "protectionism" in Tunisia and in Morocco. Boularak said free-trade deals were being concluded with four non-European Union nations -- Iceland, Norway and Switzerland -- and eight west African states -- Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liechtenstein, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.
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