British official positive on outlook of trade with Algeria

Friday, Feb 10,2012, 5:02:57 PM

After the official visit of Lord Howell of Guildford, the deputy secretary at the British Foreign Office, in charge of energy and commerce, at the end of November 2011, another secretary, Lord Marland, the British state secretary in charge of energy and climate change, paid a visit on Tuesday and Wednesday [7 and 8 February] to Algiers. These visits took place along with visits by representatives of British companies in the energy sector, who had come to know more about investment opportunities in Algeria. This interest of the British government is due to the desire to further develop cooperation with Algeria, which is considered as an important country in the region and which has a great potential in several areas, according to the British party.

El Watan Met on Tuesday evening [7 February] with Lord Marland, who spoke as the special envoy of the British prime minister told us that his visit aims to explore all the opportunities to strengthen the trade relations between the UK and Algeria in several areas particularly in the education sector with the development of relations between the Algerian and British universities as well as in the sectors of health, energy and renewable energy. "We have important trade relations with Algeria and we want to develop them by identifying all the opportunities that exist," Lord Marland told us, adding, "I am confident that Algeria and the United Kingdom can develop their relationships in other areas than the gas sector after identifying new areas and looking for other opportunities ".

Lord Marland indicated: "Our relations are important given that the UK imports 5 per cent of its gas needs from Algeria" .We must recall that Sonatrach has a subsidiary in the UK that sells the Algerian gas directly on the UK market.

To the question whether the UK will import more gas from Algeria, Lord Marland said: "Demand for gas in the UK will increase and we see Algeria as a strategic supplier". The active presence of British companies in the energy sector further strengthens this relationship, he indicated. On Tuesday and Wednesday [7 and 8 February], Lord Marland met four ministers, namely Youcef Yousfi, Minister of Energy and Mines, Mohammed Benmeradi , Minister of Industry , Cherif Rahmani, Minister of Town Planning and Environment and Abdelkader Messahel Deputy Minister in charge of Maghreb and African Affairs. He also met with managers of private and public sectors.

During the interview with Lord Marland and according to a statement from the Ministry of Energy, Youcef Yousfi "had invited the British companies to become more involved in investment and partnership in the fields of petrochemical, refining and exploration, including offshore".

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