Gazprom plans Algerian visit by year's end

July 17, 2013 at 6:56 AM

MOSCOW, July 17 (UPI) -- Russian energy company Gazprom said its representatives would travel to Algeria this year to pursue a better working relationship with the Algerian government.

Algeria has the 10th largest natural gas deposits in the world and is the third-largest supplier to Europe. Its exports have been in decline, however, because of lagging foreign investments.

Gazprom board Chairman Viktor Zubkov met in Moscow with Algerian Ambassador to Russia Smail Chergui to discuss stronger links in the energy sector.

"The parties agreed to prepare and hold a business trip of Viktor Zubkov to Algeria before the end of the current year," Gazprom said in a statement Tuesday.

A country report updated in May by the U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration reports Algerian natural gas production has been in decline since 2005 because of field maturation. There have been several new projects discussed but few have gone on stream.

Gazprom estimates Algeria holds 160 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The Russian company signed a memorandum of understanding with Algerian state energy company Sonatrach in 2006 and commenced drilling operations in 2010.

Terrorists attacked a Sonatrach facility in early 2013.

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