Algeria, Qatar ink steel plant deal

Qatar's Sheikh Hamad Ben Khalifa Al-Thani, left, is welcomed by Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika at Algiers airport, Monday Jan.7, 2013 as he arrives for a one-day visit . (AP Photo/Anis Belghoul)

ALGIERS: Algeria and Qatar on Monday signed eight accords, including for the construction of a steel plant, during a visit to the north African country by Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.

The agreement to jointly build a steel plant in Bella, 300 kilometres (190 miles) east of Algiers was signed in the presence of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and the emir of Qatar, Algeria's state-run APS news agency reported.

The OPEC countries, both major producers and exporters of natural gas, also signed a memorandum of understanding for the production and marketing of fertilizer.

Separately, Qatar Petroleum and Algerian energy giant Sonatrach inked an accord for cooperation on fuel and petrochemcials.

Other cooperation accords covered the maritime transport, mining, and oil and gas sectors, the latter being signed by Algerian Energy Minister Youcef Yousfi and Qatar's Finance, Economy and Trade Minister Yussef Hussein Kamal.

The planned steel complex will have a production capacity of 10 million tonnes per year, helping Algeria to slash its total import costs by an estimated 10 billion dollars annually, or 20 percent, according to Algerian sources.

Official media did not specify the cost of the project.

But pro-government daily El-Moudjahid on Monday reported that the total estimated cost of the energy, mining and industry agreements during the emir's one-day visit was around five billion dollars.





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