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algeria-oilALGIERS: Algeria's imports of refined oil products this year may reach 3 million tonnes but will fall sharply in 2013, a senior official at state energy firm Sonatrach said on Sunday.

 

"Our imports will be between 2.5 million and 3 million tonnes for the full year. There will be little imported as of the end of February when maintenance work at refineries will be over," Yamina Hamdi, vice-president for commercial activity at Sonatrach, told reporters on the sidelines of an energy conference in Algiers.

 

Sonatrach had said it was planning to import 2 million tonnes of gasoil and 300,000 tonnes of gasoline in 2012.

 

Algeria has increased imports of refined products in recent months to ensure it can keep the domestic market supplied during a six-month maintenance programme at its 335,000 barrel per day (bpd) Skikda refinery.

 

Sonatrach had said the refinery would resume at full capacity by February.

 

Sonatrach is planning to build five new refineries with a total production capacity of 30 million tonnes per year to increase the country's refined products output to 52 million tonnes from 22 million tonnes now.

 

The five units will cost Sonatrach $14 billion, the company's Chief Executive Officer Abdelhamid Zerguine told reporters on Sunday.

 

Copyright Reuters, 2012