Algerian state energy firm Sonatrach replaces CEO

March 21, 2017 | Algeria, People on the move

Algiers, Algeria | –  Algerian state energy firm Sonatrach has replaced Chief Executive Amine Mazouzi after less than two years in the job, naming Abdelmoumen Ould Kadour to replace him, the energy ministry said on Monday.

A statement from the ministry gave no reason for the change. Ould Kadour is an engineer who graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and headed U.S.-Algerian firm Brown & Root Condor in the 1990s.

Since last year, Sonatrach has begun to reverse a stagnation in its oil and gas output as Algeria sought to offset sharp falls in energy revenues due to lower oil prices.

The North African OPEC member nation had struggled to attract oil investment in recent years because of tough terms that made foreign companies wary, but in 2016 it began a more flexible approach to bilateral talks with foreign partners.

There have been divergent views within Algeria’s ruling elite over how hard to push for foreign investment and domestic economic reform as Algeria tries to boost revenues and spur growth.

Algeria remains dependent on oil and gas earnings, and Sonatrach’s performance is key to the health of the economy.

Before Mazouzi’s appointment in May 2015 Sonatrach, shaken by a corruption scandal, had been through five CEOs in five years.

In the statement, Energy Minister Noureddine Boutarfa called on Ould Kadour to “act with full responsibility and confidence to put in place the qualitative changes that allow Sonatrach to evolve and prosper in a calm business climate that encourages initiative and decision-taking”.