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Algeria oil and gas revenues up 25 percent in 2010: minister

by Staff Writers
Algiers (AFP) Jan 3, 2011
Algeria saw oil and gas revenues rise 25 percent year-on-year in 2010 to 55.7 billion dollars (41.8 billion euros), Energy and Mines Minister Youcef Yousfi said Monday.

Overall hydrocarbon production, however, registered a "slight contraction but not a drop," he told national radio, without elaborating.

"What is important is the value of exports and not the volumes exported," Yousfi added.

Algerian state energy firm Sonatrach had last month announced expected revenues in 2010 of 56-57 billion dollars for a production of 220 million tonnes of oil equivalent. In 2009, the firm produced 222.5 million tonnes of oil equivalent and 231.9 million in 2008.

Yousfi also said Algeria is studying ways to launch its first nuclear power plant in 15-20 years because the country has sufficient uranium reserves. The country currently runs two experimental nuclear reactors in Draria and Ain Oussera.

Algeria is also planning to beef up its renewable energy industry, the minister said, with "a very ambitious programme" aimed at producing 40 percent of current energy levels from wind and solar power over 20 years.

He said Algiers has nonetheless not yet approved a development bid by Desertec, a project spearheaded by a group of German companies that aims to create a vast wind and solar power network in North Africa and the Middle East in four decades.

"The government gave neither the green light nor the red light to Desertec. Let's outline the project first and then we will discuss with all our partners, without excluding anyone," Yousfi said.

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