Sonatrach director-general Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour regularly tours the hydrocarbons giant’s sprawling empire, rallying workers and telling journalists about Algeria’s return to producing oil and gas on a global scale, after years of corruption scandals and management inertia. On his 8 February visit to Hassi R’Mel, he announced that Sonatrach would invest $56bn in 2018-22. In an interview, he referred to discussions with Total on an unspecified $5bn project. After a long period of tensions with the French major, this is likely to be a major new petrochemicals project, giving further substance to claims Algeria is back as a force in the industry.