FINANCIAL NEWS

Algeria appoints new oil minister

30 May 2010

(MENAFN) Bloomberg reported that Algerian Energy Minister Chakib Khelil has been removed from his post and replaced by former energy official and diplomat Youcef Yousfi in the biggest upheaval in the OPEC member’s energy industry in a decade.

The man who takes over supervision of Algeria’s energy sector, which supplies about a fifth of Europe’s gas needs, is a technocrat who had a previous stint as energy minister in the 1990s and is also a past boss of state energy firm Sonatrach.

An analyst said Khelil’s removal was part of a political re-alignment in Algeria, where President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been in power for 11 years. Khelil, a U.S.-educated former World Bank official, is a Bouteflika ally.

Telecommunications Minister Hamid Bessalah was also removed from his post. His ministry played a part in the Algerian government’s row with Egyptian firm Orascom Telecom over the future ownership of it Algerian unit. The minister’s job is taken over by Moussa Benhamadi, chief executive of state-owned telephone operator Algerie Telecom.

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