ALGIERS, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- Algerian energy giant Sonatrach has earmarked 70 billion U.S. dollars for its investments between 2017 and 2021, the state run company's CEO Amine Maazouzi said Friday.
"This 70 billion dollars worth of investment plan aims at reinforcing the position of Sonatrach in the global oil and gas markets, as well as meeting the constantly growing local demand," Maazouzi was quoted as saying by APS news agency on the sidelines of Algeria's 46th anniversary of hydrocarbons nationalization.
Maazouzi specified that this mega budget would enable Sonatrach to maintain the development of its output and deposit capacities, as well as consolidating its capacities in terms of hydrocarbon transport and storage.
He added that the energy giant also aim at modernizing its refining facilities and tools, while respecting compliance with the output cap decided by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
At a meeting chaired by the head of state Abdelaziz Bouteflika in Algiers in Oct. 4, 2016, the Council of Ministers adopted a Presidential decree allowing Sonatrach to accelerate research operations in six new areas which potentially contain oil and gas deposits.
The price drop that hit the global market in 2016 and 2015 heavily affected Algeria's revenues, forcing the government to adopt an austerity plan, while leading at the same time intensive talks with OPEC and non-OPEC countries to persuade them to reduce global outputs and therefore restore balance to the market.
A historic agreement was reached in Algiers late 2016 by OPEC members and then confirmed in a full meeting in Vienna, stipulating reducing the cartel's global outputs by 1.3 billion barrels a day.
This decision has largely contributed in boosting prices to around 55 dollars a barrel.
Algeria says an oil barrel between 50 and 60 dollars would be favorable for both consumers and producers, as it would help producers to maintain investments and exploration of new fields, and therefore assure the availability of this key energy product on the long term.