Just in case anyone thought Algeria was becoming an investment paradise (MEES, 14 July), Sonatrach CEO Toufik Hakkar threw a spanner in the works with 10 July comments that suggest the Algerian authorities may block, or at least hold up, Eni’s latest plans to expand in the country with the $4.9bn purchase of London-based Neptune Energy. Neptune’s sole Algeria asset is 35% of the 400mn cfd-capacity Touat field (MEES, 30 June).

“Eni has yet to contact the [Algerian] authorities” as regards the deal, Mr Hakkar says. “It is necessary to respect the legal procedures. Once the proposal is presented to the Energy Ministry, the entire dossier will be examined by the ministry and Sonatrach in order to consider the application and decide whether or not [Sonatrach will exercise] the right of preemption,” he adds. (CONTINUED - 228 WORDS)