INTERNATIONAL –  Algeria will conclude its deal with Exxon Mobil Corp and set up a trade joint venture with an international company before the first half of 2019, Sonatrach’s Chief Executive Officer said on Monday.

“We are very optimistic and things are moving in the right direction so we will conclude with Exxon and have our trade JV,” Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour told reporters.

He gave no further details. Sonatrach has previously said it wanted a shale gas cooperation with the US major.

The state energy firm had also said before it was in talks with 14 international companies over a joint venture to trade oil and gas products after agreeing to buy its first overseas refinery.

In November 2018, Exxon Mobil delivered its strongest third quarter in four years with a 57 percent jump in profit, halting a series of disappointing results and joining its European rivals in profiting from rising energy prices.

Exxon shares climbed as the American supermajor appeared to emerge from years of production setbacks after failed bets on Russia and Canada that undercut its previously gold-plated reputation among investors. The company made special mention of the Permian Basin as a contributor to its production renaissance.

Reuters