Algerian Energy Minister Mustapha Guitouni and Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi speak at a news conference in Baghdad on January 7. Photo: Guitouni Twitter
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Algeria’s state energy company and major oil supplier to Europe, Sonatrach, is exploring investment opportunities in Iraq, the oil minister in Baghdad said in a statement after meeting his Algerian counterpart.
Algerian Energy Minister Mustapha Guitouni will be meeting with Iraqi energy companies “to achieve concrete steps toward sealing a cooperation agreement with Sonatrach,” Iraq’s Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi said at a joint news conference on Sunday, according to Reuters.
The minister said that Guitouni is hopeful that the two countries will bolster cooperation in natural gas and oil exploration.
Baghdad can benefit from Sonatrach’s expertise as Iraq’s oil fields lack the facilities to process crude oil into fuel for export or local consumption.
Sonatrach is Africa’s largest energy company with over 50 years’ experience in hydrocarbon research, production, transport, processing and marketing of crude oil and natural gas and a major energy supplier in the world.
Iraq is the second largest crude oil producer within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) after Saudi Arabia with an average output of 4.4 million barrels per day (bpd).
Baghdad, by deploying Iraqi forces and Iran-backed Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitias, increased its control of several oil and gas fields in the Kurdistani or disputed territories from Kurdish forces in October 2017.
Algeria is territorially OPEC’s largest member state with an estimated output of 1 million bpd.