France and Algeria Sign Nuclear Deal

Friday, December 7, 2007

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) -- France and Algeria agreed to cooperate on civilian nuclear technologies Tuesday, while French oil and gas giant Total SA signed a deal to build a petrochemical complex in the North African country.

The announcements came during French President Nicolas Sarkozy's three-day visit to Algeria, his first full state visit to the ex-French colony since his May election.

The nuclear framework agreement is designed to facilitate industrial partnerships, transfers of technology and cooperation in training.

Total, meanwhile, said it signed a deal with Algeria's Sonatrach to build a petrochemical complex in Arzew, near the northern city of Oran.

"The deal signals our entry into Algeria's petrochemical industry and strengthens the existing partnership between Total and Sonatrach in oil exploration and production," Total Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie said.

The plant will be capable of processing 1.54 million tons of gas each year from natural gas fields in southern Algeria, Total said. It will produce ethylene, which will then be made either into polyethylene or monethylene glycol.

Required investment in the deal is estimated at $3 billion, Total said.

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