With depressed oil and gas prices rapidly depleting Algeria’s coffers, state-owned Sonatrach has downsized its five-year plan for oil and gas investment to $73bn (officially “more than $73bn”) for 2016-20, down from $90bn for 2015-19, which in itself was down from its $100bn 2014-18 plans (MEES, 11 July 2014).

While Sonatrach managed to spin last year’s cuts as a maintenance of its investment plans combined with a stronger dollar and falling costs (MEES, 29 May 2015), it is unlikely to persuade anyone that this is the case this time round. It has yet to release any details on headline output projections that suggest that it will not only raise production, but by more than envisaged last year, despite the slashed spending. (CONTINUED - 1389 WORDS)