ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Algerian state oil company Sonatrach won't cut back spending on its next five-year plan despite the precipitous decline of oil prices, it's director announced Sunday.
Said Sahnoun, Sonatrach CEO, said that the next five year plan budgets $90 billion to improve production even as oil prices hit five-year lows of around $65 a barrel.
The plan includes developing oil and gas fields, improving transportation of products and investment in petrochemical and refining capacity.
Sonatrach's exports provide Algeria with 98 percent of its hard currency and the aging fields have seen declining production.
The company's production has dropped form 232 million tons equivalent of oil in 2008 to 194.5 in 2012.
Strict investment laws have also kept away foreign money and know-how to make new discoveries.
Sahnoun also announced that the Algeria should begin commercial exploitation of its shale gas by 2022 with an expected production of 20 billion cubic meters.
After China and Argentina, Algeria has the largest reserves of shale gas and it decided this year to begin exploiting it.