What are Sonatrach’s main growth priorities in the medium term?

BENCHOUIA: The main plan from 2013-2017 is to promote investment in our upstream business. This is mainly focused on refining. Our targets are to finish these refineries because the demand is there. If we cannot complete these refineries, we must import gasoline or diesel. The number of cars is increasing in Algeria. We are also developing petrochemicals and plants. The purpose of the first plant is to avoid importing petrochemicals. The purpose of the second plant is for added value. The development of these plants also helps with employment in Algeria, where a good portion of the population is young and uneducated. Our target is to achieve this program on time. Sonatrach has many international locations and influences. We were the first oil and gas company in Africa. There have been many discoveries in Africa, specifically Mozambique and Congo. Our company is currently ranked 16th, and we would like to keep this ranking and hopefully increase it.

What level of investment are you going to be making during 2013-2017?

BENCHOUIA: The total amount of investment we are going to be making from 2013-2017 is $80bn. 70% of this will be allocated to upstream. We have a large amount of land that is unexplored. A further 25% of the total investment will be dedicated to downstream, specifically petrochemicals and refineries. The remainder will be for transportation. We have to follow the upstream discoveries.

What is your future outlook for Algeria’s energy sector?

BENCHOUIA: In Algeria, we see a huge potential for solar energy. We know that solar energy is still expensive. We are looking for a partnership to fabricate this in Algeria. We would like to produce electricity. Solar energy can produce a large amount of electricity. We are looking to form a partnership with the Minister of Energy and the electrical company to find a partner to fabricate this business.