Algiers, Tehran in Talks to Expand Energy Ties

Algiers, Tehran in Talks to Expand Energy TiesAlgiers, Tehran in Talks to Expand Energy Ties

Tehran is ready and willing to play a role in Algiers' joint energy ventures.

Iranian Ambassador to Algeria Reza Ameri made the statement in a meeting with Algerian Energy Minister Mustapha Guitouni in Algiers last week, the Oil Ministry's news agency Shana reported.

"Reinforcing energy ties with the second largest hydrocarbon reserves holder in Africa is high on the Iranian Oil Ministry's agenda," Ameri said, noting that strengthening relations among the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries can have a constructive impact on the global energy market.

Pointing to Algeria's dependence on oil revenues, the official added that Algiers can draw on Tehran's experience in reducing the budget's dependency on oil.

Highlighting Iran's capacity to build power plants and refineries, he noted that Iranian firms can perform a key role in constructing power stations, providing much-needed equipment as well as carrying out maintenance and overhaul activity in power and petroleum facilities of the North African nation.

According to Ameri, establishing a joint energy committee can be an effective step in setting up a framework to facilitate further cooperation.

"We know no limit for expansion of collaboration with Algeria and are ready to help boost relations in oil and energy sectors," he said.

Ameri extended an invitation to Guitouni for an official visit to Tehran.

Referring to Algiers' overall plan to decrease the economy's reliance on crude export, Guitouni said taking advantage of other OPEC members' experience, especially expanding cooperation with Iran, is high on our list of priorities.

"We are fully aware of Iranian firms' capabilities despite sanctions," Guitouni said.

"His country welcomes signing development contracts with Iran and attracting the country's investment to build refineries in Algiers on condition that Iranian companies transfer their technology and make use of local workforce."

The official noted that "several Iranian companies" are operating in Algeria, stressing that there is room to expand collaboration.

Stressing that a joint energy committee can pave the way for strengthening commercial and energy ties, the official noted that Algeria is ready to form the committee in the near future.

Underscoring Algeria's future prospect of energy, especially in the electricity sector, Guitouni said, "Plans have been made to develop several mega electricity initiatives in Algeria, one of which is the construction of a 12,000-megawatt power plant by 2022, which can be a unique opportunity for the two states to embark on a joint venture."

The Algerian minister added that several renewable energy projects have been put out to tender and Iranian companies could participate in them.

Stressing that Algeria's economy is facing several problems, Guitouni added that his country is making efforts to help its economy grow through investment in the energy sector.

Energy officials, including Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, believe that Iran and Algeria can expand cooperation in the oil, gas and energy sectors beyond their relations at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

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