Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour is approaching a year at the helm of Algerian state energy firm Sonatrach. His task is a tough one: to streamline the country’s largest employer and strike a balance between attracting much-needed investment from overseas and appeasing the resource nationalism entrenched at the highest levels within the regime.

The indications are that Mr Ould Kaddour is seeking to strike a conciliatory tone with both international oil companies (IOCs) and foreign governments, and that often he is prepared to match these positive noises with firm agreements. Instead of getting mired in long-running disputes over individual contract terms of the kind that have characterized much of the past decade, Mr Ould Kaddour has instead chosen to put pen to paper. (CONTINUED - 2115 WORDS)