Algerian state oil giant Sonatrach and its key Spanish customer Naturgy are headed for arbitration over gas prices with the Spanish utility arguing it is paying far too much for gas under its existing 7.7bcm/y contract.

While both sides say their priority is to reach an agreement through negotiations, at least nine meetings so far have failed to produce a result and a July deadline is fast approaching. (CONTINUED - 1022 WORDS)