Deputies call to postpone bill on hydrocarbons until after presidential election

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ALGIERS- Deputies of the People’s National Assembly called Tuesday, in Algiers, for the postponement of the bill on hydrocarbons until after the presidential election of 12 December to enable its drafters to take the necessary time to examine and enrich it within the framework of an inclusive dialogue involving all the stakeholders in the sector.   

Speaking at a plenary session devoted to the debate on the hydrocarbons bill chaired by the Lower House’s Speaker Slimane Chenine, in the presence of the Minister of Relations with Parliament, Fethi Khouil, MEPs felt it is necessary to give extra time to examine this text, pleading for postponement after the next Presidential election.

MP Abdeldjebar Tazir (El Infitah Movement) said that the current situation in the country does not allow to debate a law of great importance and sensitivity, being an essential tool for the development of the hydrocarbons sector in particular and the national economy in general, before calling for imperative postponement of the law text after the presidential election.

For his part, MP Hadj Belghouati (Front El Moustakbal) stressed the importance of this project, especially in terms of energy security since it requires a lot of “clairvoyance, precision and reflection “, which means the imperative of giving it the necessary time to debate it, underlining the need to overcome the dependence on hydrocarbons and to look for other alternative sources of wealth.

Belghouati also called for opening up to other sectors, such as; agriculture, tourism and other sectors, to create wealth and end the dependence on hydrocarbons to achieve sustainable development of the country .

For his part, the Dakmous Dakmoussi MP (Front of New Algeria) recalled the need to pay more attention to this project, particularly in terms of deepening its examination and consultation of specialists also advocating its postponement until the election of a new president and the stability of the situation.

The MP Mustapha Nouassa of the Tajamou Amel El Jazair (TAJ)  party felt that this project did not involve enough experts and firm consultation in spite of its crucial importance, stressing that it, generally, contains positive points and other negatives such as; lack of incentives in the field of petrochemical industry development.

On the other hand, MP Souad Lakhdari (FLN) said that the reforms contained in the draft law are likely to attract more investment, calling for the imperative to instruct a group of experts to explain this law to citizens, including articles dealing with investment and partnership with foreigners.

Responding to some MPs’ concerns about the draft law, Energy Minister Mohamed Arkab said the reasons behind the development of the project lie mainly in the decline in reserves since 2005 for lack of new investment contracts with partners in exploration and prospecting activities.

He also said that exploration of new oil and gas reserves has become a “pressing and urgent” necessity for Algeria, requiring an adequate legal framework.

The timing of this project is “purely economic” coinciding with the decline in oil exploration activity in the country in light of Sonatrach’s inability to bear the major costs of this activity and a situation marked by a large increase in domestic energy demand, he said.

The minister added that the draft text intervenes to adapt Sonatrach’s activity to the data of the global oil market and to the strong competition imposed by the major oil producers.

APS

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