Algeria's Main Business Sectors

Algeria's main business sectors have long been focused around Oran and Algiers, and they have included chemical plants, cement factories, carpet mills, auto plants, food processing plants, refineries, and textile plants. Other industries in Algeria have also included the production of tile and brick, rolled steel, electrical components, tools, sulfuric acit, paper, and tobacco.

Algeria's business sectors made very significant gains before the country won its independence. New technologies came to pass in packaging, food packing, chemicals, leather, textiles, metals and farm machinery. A large steel plant was constructed at Annaba, as well as a refinery at Algiers. Arzew got a petrochemical plant, and Djebel Onk is home to a phosphate plant.

French companies in Algeria were nationalized after the country won independence, and the Algerian government put enormous focus on the hydrocarbon sector, such as refinery construction. By 1989, Algeria had five refineries making 470,000 barrels per day, with that number rising to 1.1 million barrels a day in 2003. By 2012, the country is expected to produce two million barrels of oil per day.

The Algerian government has encouraged the diversification of the country's business sectors, trying to wean the Algerian people from their reliance on hydrocarbons. This approach hasn't been so successful, considering the increase in natural gas and oil export revenue in the last ten years. Algeria hasn't been fully explored, and large pockets of natural gas and petroleum have been found in the recent past. The country is 14th worldwide in terms of oil reserves, and fifth in reserves of natural gas. Algeria's hydrocarbon sector goes by the name of Sonatrach, and is owned by the state.

Sonatrach has explored the possibility of building a gas pipeline to Sicily, and another to the south of France. There have also been feasibility studies done on a trans-Sahara pipeline. Recently, the state has loosened its deathgrip on the sector, issuing Sonatrach bonds and opening the market to foreign investors.

As of the beginning of the decade, industry made up a third of Algeria's gross domestic product, with hydrocarbons accounting for thirty percent of the GDP and almost all export revenue earned. Algeria's business sectors are shifting from a socialist economy to a capitalist economy, resulting in a drop in productivity as redundant plants are closed and downsizing occurs.

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