Trained Engineer Takes On Algeria's Energy Monolith

Trained Engineer Takes On Algeria's Energy Monolith
The scene revealed the scale of the challenge facing Abdelmoumen Ould Kadour.

An elite made up of the ruling FLN party, army and security has controlled Algeria since independence, with officials or executives of state firms sometimes losing jobs when a new faction takes over in power plays behind closed doors.

After serving his two-year jail term, he worked in Qatar, France, Senegal and the United Arab Emirates before Bouteflika made him Sonatrach CEO in March 2017.

Anis Rahmani, owner of private Ennahar TV station, said the CEO had told him he was devastated by being branded a traitor. "But the man has vision, a plan to transform the company into a modern and performing one, which is not the case now," he said.

He is more powerful than the energy minister, one insider said, but must also win backing from politicians resistant to opening up the country too much. A key energy law has been stalled for years but a draft is now due in July.

It is likely to retain Sonatrach's majority stake in all energy projects but offer tax incentives for investors, a Sonatrach executive said. "The law needs to be attractive," he said. "If not it will be useless."

(Additional reporting by Dmitry Zhdannikov in LondonEditing by Ulf Laessing and Philippa Fletcher)


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