CAIRO, (Reuters) – Algeria’s state-owned energy firm Sonatrach is setting up an oil and gas joint venture with two Egyptian national companies, its chief executive officer told Reuters on Saturday.
“We could invest around maybe $15 billion but it is not settled yet,” Sonatrach CEO Mohamed Meziane said in an interview. “We are in the way of preparing for the board meeting and the general assembly, which will decide on the amount and the policy of investment for the next year and five years coming,” he added.
Sonatrach will also meet on Sunday with Egyptian counterparts from state-owned firms Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) and Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) to discuss setting up the $10 million joint venture.
Sonatrach will hold a 50 percent stake in the new company, Selena, and the Egyptian companies will hold the remaining 50 percent. “They will be in charge of exploration and production to find oil and gas in Egypt, Algeria and in third countries,” Meziane said.
Asked which other countries Selena would explore, Meziane said Selena was considering Africa and wherever opportunities arise. He said he was looking to establish the company, “as soon as possible.”
The firm will alternate its presidency between Egypt and Algeria with offices in both countries. “If the president is Algerian then the vice president will be Egyptian … and they will alternate every three or four years,” Meziane said.
Algerian Energy and Mines minister Chakib Khelil said on Friday Egypt and Algeria hoped to sign the joint venture agreement on Sunday.
Khelil was speaking on arrival in Cairo to attend a meeting of OAPEC oil ministers.
The joint venture announcement came after a soccer rivalry caused diplomatic tension between Cairo and Algiers in November, after Algeria beat Egypt in a World Cup qualifying match in Sudan.
Egypt and Algeria each accused the other of failing to protect their citizens and property from attacks by rival fans.
Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa has called on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to intervene to resolve the spat, and Sudan has offered to mediate.