Total Challenges Algeria in International Court of Arbitration

Total Challenges Algeria in International Court of Arbitration

French oil company Total has taken its dispute with Algerian authorities to the International Court of Arbitration, via the International Chamber of Commerce in Geneva.

Total contests Algerian state oil & gas producer Sonatrach decision to change profit-sharing terms on oil and gas contracts in the mid-2000s.

“We tried as always to find a mutual agreement first, it failed, so we decided that we would seek arbitration”, said the French company’s Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne.

Total and its Spanish partner Repsol had initiated litigation at the International Court of Arbitration against Algeria and state-run oil company Sonatrach.

The dispute was sparked by Algeria’s decision in 2006 to change an oil tax scheme retroactively. The move has prompted other oil groups to claim compensation.

U.S. firm Anadarko Petroleum Corp and Maersk Oil, a unit of Danish conglomerate A.P. Moller-Maersk, reached settlements in 2012 worth about $4.4 billion and $920 million in oil respectively.

Total owns 35 percent in the gas field of Tin Fouye Tebenkort, also called TFT, which produces 14 million cubic meters per day. Besides exploration and production, Total sells in Algeria petrochemicals, petroleum products and related services, including automotive and industrial lubricants and asphalt.

The French giant also purchases Algerian crude oil and condensate, naphtha (a distillation product) and jet fuel.

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