May 23, 2018 / 11:15 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Algeria's Sonatrach says no plans to buy more foreign refineries

(Adds details on energy exports, background)

ALGIERS, May 23 (Reuters) - Algerian state energy firm Sonatrach has no plans to buy another foreign refinery after purchasing the Augusta refinery in Italy, Chief Executive Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour said on Wednesday.

"For now it is not our plan to buy another one overseas," Kaddour told reporters, adding that the capacity of Augusta along with Sonatrach's Algiers and planned Hassi Messaoud refineries would enable Algeria to cover its needs.

Sonatrach bought 175,000 barrel-per-day Augusta refinery in Sicily from ExxonMobil this month, the companies said.

Algeria, an OPEC member that exports oil and gas but has limited refining capacity, imported $16 billion in fuel products from 2011 to 2017, Sonatrach said in a presentation on its Augusta purchase.

"We import a lot of naphtha and fuel products," said Mazighi Ahmed, a Sonatrach executive. "Its an astronomic bill."

Sonatrach also said Algeria's energy exports rose to $9.8 billion in the first quarter after $8.4 billion a year earlier as higher oil prices offset a stagnant crude production.

The North African country's oil and gas production was 49.6 million tonnes of oil equivalent in the first three months versus 50 million tonnes in the same period last year, Sonatrach officials said in a presentation.

Gas output was up 1 percent in the first three months, it said.

Kaddour said he hoped ExxonMobil would become a partner in Algeria's energy industry, without elaborating. (Reporting by Lamine Chikhi; writing by Ulf Laessing Editing by Jason Neely and Edmund Blair)

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