Total’s takeover of Anadarko: Algiers wants to have its say

To defend national interests, the Algerian authorities have warned that they may have to prevent the takeover of Anadarko’s Algerian assets by the French Total…. 

Announced in early May, Total’s takeover of Anadarko’s African assets may prove more complicated than expected, particularly in Algeria. This was suggested by the Algerian Minister of Energy, Mohamed Arkab, on Sunday 26 May. Asked about Total’s acquisition of the assets of the American company in Algeria, on the occasion of the inauguration ceremony of Sonelgaz’s new CEO, Boulakhras Chaher, the Minister said that « a letter has been sent to the Anadarko group on this subject, without receiving a reply from it […], which means for us that no agreement has been reached between these two parties ». In the meantime, the political leader warned that if the agreement was confirmed, the government would then use »[…] all legal means to preserve the interests of Sonatrach[the Algerian public oil company] and Algeria in general ». Comminatory remarks to which the Minister partly returned on Monday, when he indicated, in a more conciliatory way, that « Sonatrach will seek a good compromise », before concluding that it « […] must maintain good relations with foreign partners to develop its programs ».
As a reminder, on May 5, the French group Total announced the signing of an agreement with Western American Petroleum to acquire all of Anadarko’s oil and gas assets in Africa – including those located in Algeria – for $8.8 billion. « If completed, the acquisition of Anadarko by Occidental offers us the opportunity to acquire a portfolio of world-class assets in Africa, which would strengthen our position as the leading international private company on the continent, » said Patrick Pouyanné, Total’s CEO, in the press release announcing the agreement. It remains to be seen whether this will succeed.