An acknowledgement from Algerian state firm Sonatrach that its crude export volumes for the first eight months of 2016 are well down, by 8% according to its reckoning, is hardly a surprise. Indeed rival data supplied to the Riyadh-based Joint Oil Data Initiative indicates a more substantial 11.5% fall from 599,000 b/d for Jan-Jun 2015 to just 530,000 b/d for the same period this year. Crude output has flatlined at 1.1mn b/d over the same period (see p8) but the amount of crude refined locally is sharply up, as is domestic consumption.

Sonatrach’s 3 September release says it exported 71.5mn toe in Jan-August 2016 versus 65.4mn toe in the same period last year “all products included.” In fact this is a 9.3% increase, although this falls to 8.7% when the extra day in 1H16 is controlled for. Whether 8% or 9%, the claim that overall gross petroleum exports are up sharply whilst those for crude are down, implies double-digit gains in gas volumes. (CONTINUED - 994 WORDS)