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President orders Sonatrach audit

Shiny building with flags outside
Sonatrach HQ

Sonatrach is facing a “deep audit” by the Algerian state, while the company also attempts to control costs.

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune ordered the company be scrutinised, according to a statement released following the weekend’s cabinet meeting.

The audit will consider Sonatrach’s actions, its use of expatriate labour, where positions can be cut without harming performance or profitability and a move to more analytical accounting.

Tebboune’s comments noted that the energy sector was in a state of stagnation. It had focused on conventional production and lost sight of the country’s potential, a possible reference to increasing work on Algeria’s shale resources. There was also reference to working offshore Algeria.

The president set out a number of areas of focus, including improving the recovery rate from fields to above 40% and stopping the import of fuel and refined products in the first quarter of 2021.

The cabinet also approved and adopted a decree on the In Salah II licence. This covers Blocks 338a, 340b, 342 and 343a. Talks on this was concluded by Alnaft in April, with Sonatrach.

Comments from the president come as Sonatrach is taking steps to cut costs and while discussion of corruption continues.

The company is in the process of a project it calls COST – cost optimisation system tracking. COST is focused on optimising performance and cutting costs.

Sonatrach’s head Toufik Hakkar said there was a need to achieve this while not disrupting its ability to function.

The director of the COST project Lazhar Mahboubi noted the importance of the work for the medium and long term. The company is carrying out workshops on the topic with plans to reward workers who help cut costs.

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