Gulf Keystone leaves Algeria

Dec. 21, 2011 at 8:20 AM
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ALGIERS, Algeria, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Authorities in Algeria said British energy company BG Group was allowed to increase its stake in a natural gas project with Gulf Keystone out of the picture.

Gulf Keystone in February 2010 agreed to transfer slightly more than 38 percent of its stake over to BG Group for work in the Hassi Ba Hamou gas field in central Algeria. That agreement was delayed, however, pending a decision by state-owned energy company Sonatrach and the Algerian government.

Now, the Platts news service says, it appears Gulf Keystone is out of the development as BG Group has a 65 percent stake in operations in Algeria, roughly double its initial stake.

"Gulf Keystone no longer has a stake in the Hassi Ba Hamou project," an Algerian council was quoted as saying.

The government had expressed frustration over earlier reports that BG was going to leave the country because of delays since 2010.

Gulf Keystone said it was keen to focus its efforts on developing oil fields in Kurdish regions of Iraq. That move follows statements from Gulf Keystone that it wasn't involved in takeover talks with U.S. supermajor Exxon Mobil.

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