Algeria’s Sonatrach this week announced the completion of the expansion of its Algiers (Sidi Rezine) refinery, which takes throughout capacity from 2.7mn t/y to 3.6mn t/y (59,000 b/d to 79,000 b/d). The project was troubled from the start, with current Sonatrach chief executive Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour saying that the expansion “should never have happened… Doing up such a dilapidated plant was a fundamental error. It would’ve have been better to build a new plant; it would cost less” (MEES, 7 December 2018).

The key engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract was originally awarded to Technip, but the French firm’s contract was cancelled in 2015. The two firms subsequently entered arbitration and the dispute was only settled in mid-2017 when the companies announced an agreement to halt “a litigation that was detrimental to both parties” (MEES, 9 June 2017). (CONTINUED - 697 WORDS)