Algeria Set For $5bn 2018 Trade Deficit: As Good As It Gets?

Despite a 40% leap in oil prices, Algeria is set to notch up a $5bn trade deficit for 2018. With output and exports of both oil and gas likely to fall further given a scanty project pipeline, this may be as good as it gets barring an oil price miracle.

As Opec met in Vienna this week, Algeria as usual was among the most vocal in calling for action to support oil prices. One look at the country’s trade stats and it’s easy to see why.

Average prices for the country’s Saharan Blend crude rose 40% to average $73.3/B for the first 10 months of 2018. But, despite oil and gas bringing in 93% of export earnings – a share that has barely shifted in recent decades as various diversification strategies have come and gone – export revenues rose by a more modest 20%.


Chronic project delays mean the country’s oil and gas output is falling. Crude output fell by 4% to 1.03mn b/d for the first nine months of 2018, output of condensate and field NGLs was down 5.6% at 472,000 b/d, whilst gas output fell 1.1% to 67.5bcm. The dip in gas production came despite key project start-ups at Reggane ( MEES, 22 December 2017 ) and Timimoun ( MEES, 2 March ). (CONTINUED - 1114 WORDS)


chart 1: Algeria Gas Output (Bcm): Declines At Aging Fields Outweigh 2018 Start-Ups; LNG Exports Fall 28%
chart 2: Spain Gas Imports From Algeria (Bcm): Both Pipelines Supplied Record Volumes In 9m 2018 Despite A Q3 Dip. But LNG Volumes Are Well Down, Falling To Zero In September For The First Time In Over A Decade
table Algeria Trade Data ($Bn): Export Revenues Up But By Just Half The Rise In Oil Prices…
table …With Oil ('000 B/D) And Gas (BCM) Output And Exports All Down
chart 3: Algeria's Trade Balance ($Bn): Deficit Is Set To Halve To $4.9bn For 2018*. But With Non-Hydrocarbon Exports Stagnant, And Volumes Of Both Oil And Gas Exports Down A Further Rise In Oil Prices Will Be Needed For 2019 To See The First Surplus Since 2014