Algeria state oil and gas firm Sonatrach says it plans $40bn in capex spending between 2021 and 2025. While the headline number is eye-catching, the reality is that this represents Sonatrach’s least ambitious five-year plan for more than a decade.

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, a quick glance at the firm’s accounts reveals it hasn’t spent anything close to its planned investments since 2012 (see chart 1). In that year Sonatrach spent a colossal $15.8bn of a targeted $16bn. That was when oil prices were well above $100/B. (CONTINUED - 968 WORDS)