April 16, 2018 / 5:35 PM / 3 days ago

Algeria's Sonatrach to invest in digital technology, solar power - CEO

ORAN, Algeria, April 16 (Reuters) - Sonatrach’s CEO said on Monday the state energy firm was looking to use digital technology to improve efficiency and also plans to focus on solar power with foreign partners.

Algeria has to “find solutions for raising its reserves, including using digital to reduce costs and optimise its output,” Sonatrach CEO Abdelmoumene Ould Kaddour said.

Speaking during the opening session of an international energy conference in the western city of Oran, he said Sonatrach was determined to boost its efforts in developing the solar sector in Algeria.

“We have invested to get 1.6 gigawatts, we definitely need to focus on solar,” he said.

Ould Kadour, who took over at Sonatrach a year ago, is trying to reform the state oil company, which has been under pressure to boost production since a slump in oil prices from 2014 hit Algeria’s public revenues.

He said he would unveil a plan on April 30 named “SH 2030, Leading the Change”, to reform the state owned firm and give it a long term strategy.

“Sonatrach is a company that’s on its feet and is attracting foreign partners,” he said.

The Oran conference is attended by the heads of major European energy firms including Total of France, Eni of Italy and Spain’s Cepsa.

Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi told the conference Algeria was one of the “best alternatives” for Europe in terms of energy supply.

“Given Algeria’s conventional, non-conventional and renewable resources, Algeria could secure the supply of the north and south Mediterranean,” Descalzi said.

Algeria’s role as a major gas supplier to Europe means new tension between Europe and gas giant Russia could play to its advantage.

Cepsa CEO Pedro Miro said boosting renewables would enable Algeria to lift its gas production.

Reporting By Lamine Chikhi Writing by Aidan Lewis. Editing by Jane Merriman

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