Total faces delays to Algeria cracker plans

24 November 2009 08:04  [Source: ICIS news]

(Recasts second paragraph to add detail on why Sonatrach needs to renegotiate the joint venture and clarifies that technical problems about feedstocks have to be resolved)

DOHA (ICIS news)--Total Petrochemicals is facing delays in its plans to build a world scale cracker complex at Arzew, in Algeria, due to renegotiations over the terms of the deal, a company official said late on Monday.

After the law changed so that the majority share in a joint venture has to be owned by an Algerian company, Sonatrach, the state-controlled energy and chemical group, needs to renegotiate a previously signed deal with Total. Technical issues over feedstocks also had to be resolved, Graeme Burnett, senior vice president Middle East and Asia for Total Petrochemicals, said.

According to the original deal, the French chemical and energy group would have 51% stake in the venture with the rest going to Algeria's Sonatrach, Burnett said.

The cracker complex would include a 1.2m tonne/year ethane-based ethylene cracker with downstream polyethylene (PE) and monoethylene glycol (MEG) units, Burnett added.

“A feasibility study has been completed but it has proven difficult to move with a good pace," Burnett said explaining that government was seeking to change the terms and conditions of the deal.

“Total has worked in many countries with volatility so we are used to it. Because we believe in these projects," he said, adding the projects "come to fruition eventually”.

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By: Will Beacham
+44 20 8652 3214



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