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Algeria oil income half that of 2008

ALGIERS, Oct 19 – Algeria made 31 billion dollars from oil and gas exports between January and September 2009, which is half the income for the same period in 2008, the chairman of state firm Sonatrach said on Monday.

"The income was 31 billion dollars (20.7 billion euros) between January and September 2009, compared with 63 billion in the same period the preceding year," Mohamed Meziane said on public radio Chaine III.

Meziane said the fall in income was due to the fall in the price of crude oil and added that the north African country was counting on earning 40 billion dollars from fossil fuel exports this year.

"This objective will be closer to that realised in 2007, because 2008 will remain an exceptional year in terms of prices, which culminated at more than 147 dollars per barrel in July," he said.

Algeria\’s oil income was 59.3 billion dollars in 2007 compared with more than 75 billion in 2008. Sonatrach oversees the oil and gas industries and production in conjunction with foreign partners.

Algeria\’s production capacity is 1.45 million barrels per day (mbd) but its current production is 1.2 mbd. The country cut production by 200,000 barrels a day from January 1, in line with a decision taken in December by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Production in Algeria will remain at this level, in spite of the rise in the price of crude, which is currently around 70 dollars a barrel, because of growing confidence in an imminent economic recovery, Meziane said.

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