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Algeria to increase gas output for export -Sonatrach

ALGIERS, Sept 7 (Reuters) – Algeria will boost gas output by 10 million cubic metres per day within two months for export to offset a fall in crude oil prices that has hit state finances, state radio reported on Thursday, citing state energy firm Sonatrach’s chief executive.

The additional gas will come from Hassi Messaoud, the OPEC member country’s largest oilfield, state radio reported.

“The importance of this project is that it will make it possible to recover large quantities of gas and sell them, particularly in the current situation of declining oil prices,” Sonatrach CEO Abelmoumen Ould Kaddouras was quoted as saying on a visit to Hassi Messaoud on Wednesday.

“Our new strategy is to sell everything we can sell as gas.”

Algeria is facing financial pressure after a sharp fall in energy earnings amid failed attempts to diversify the economy away from oil and gas, which account for 60 percent of the state budget and 94 percent of total export revenue.

A top gas supplier to Europe, Algeria expects its gas exports to reach 57 billion cubic metres (bcm) this year, up from 54 bcm in 2016. Its output rose to 132.2 bcm in 2016 from 128.3 bcm the previous year.

Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed; Editing by David Goodman