Algeria: Oil and Public Opinion

  • Paola Rivetti
  • Francesco Cavatorta


Hydrocarbon revenues have long played a central role in Algeria, where the non-transparent circumstances of their redistribution have enabled the government to survive the Arab Spring and remain in power despite the socio-economic problems affecting the country. This chapter observes that public debate and repression of public dissent co-exist, while oil and gas revenues are used to co-opt and repress demands for reform voiced by civil society. Open discussion, especially concerning the need for economic diversification, is permitted because it is not seen as particularly dangerous to the regime and because civil society activism has limited impact on decision-making. Although civil society is not able to generate major institutional change at the national level, research institutes, opposition parties, media outlets, some institutional actors and ordinary citizens are increasingly contributing to and shaping the public debate over how oil and gas rents are to be used.


Algeria Natural resources Oil Gas Petroleum governance Public debate Civil society AuthoritarianismDemocracyShale gas Decision-making 


  1. Aarts, Paul, and Francesco Cavatorta. 2013. Civil Society in Syria and Iran: Activism in Authoritarian Contexts. Boulder: Lynne Rienner.Google Scholar
  2. Abdi, Nidam. 2015. Le pouvoir algérien entre son gaz de schiste et sa responsabilité socio-environnementale. Les Echos. Accessed on 12 December 2016.
  3. Achcar, Gilbert. 2013. The People Want: A Radical Exploration of the Arab Uprising. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  4. Aissaoui, Ali. 2001. Algeria: The Political Economy of Oil and Gas. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Alilat, Farid. 2015. L’Algérie Face Au Choc Pétrolier. Jeune Afrique. Accessed on 16 December 2016.
  6. Amnesty International. 2014. La répression menée en cette période préélectorale révèle des failles béantes dans le bilan des droits humains en Algérie. Amnesty Algerie. Accessed on 12 December 2016.
  7. Armstrong, Hannah. 2014. The In Amenas Attack in the Context of Southern Algeria’s Growing Social Unrest. Combating Terrorism Center. Accessed on 12 December 2016.
  8. Boubekeur, Amel. 2014. Algeria’s New Era. Foreign Policy. Accessed on 10 March 2015.
  9. CARE 2015. Revue de presse. Accessed on 26 October 2015.
  10. Cherif Ali. 2015. Loi de finances pour 2015: L’exécutif et le législatif ont-ils négocié? Le Matin d’Algerie. Accessed on 12 December 2016.
  11. Dahou, Tarik. 2015. Les marges transnationales et locales de l’état algérien. Politique Africaine 1: 7–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Darbouche, Hakim. 2011. Algeria’s Natural Gas Market: Origins and Constraints of Export Strategy. In Natural Gas Markets in the Middle East and North Africa, ed. B. Fattouh and J. Stern. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  13. El Watan. 2014. Bouteflika ou les années d’or et d’argent. El Watan. Accessed on 26 January 2015.
  14. Entelis, John. 1999. SONATRACH: The Political Economy of an Algerian State Institution. Middle East Journal 53 (1): 9–27.Google Scholar
  15. Gall, Carlotta. 2015. Shale Gas Project Encounters Determined Foes Deep in Algerian Sahara. New York Times. Accessed on 12 December 2016.
  16. Garon, Lise. 1994. Crise economique et consensus en etat rentier: Le cas de l’Algérie Socialiste. Etudes Internationales 25 (1): 25–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ghilès, Francis. 2015. Opposition to Fracking Fuels a Wider Debate. CIDOB Barcelona. Accessed on 12 December 2016.
  18. Haddad, Bassam. 2011. Business Networks in Syria: The Political Economy of Authoritarian Resilience. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Hamouchene, Hamza, Amine Mouffok, Meriem Ais, and Rachida Lamri. 2013. Algerians in London Protest against Shale Gas and the Lack of a National Debate. Open Democracy. Accessed on 12 December 2016.
  20. Henry, Clement M. 2004. Algeria’s Agonies: Oil Rent Effects in a Bunker State. The Journal of North African Studies 9 (2): 68–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Heydemann, Steven. 2007. Upgrading Authoritarianism in the Arab World. Brookings Institution Analysis Paper 13.Google Scholar
  22. Huff Post Maghreb. 2014. Le Gouverneur de la Banque d’Algérie: Les comptes du pays ne sont plus au vert. Huffington Post Maghreb. Accessed on 12 December 2016.
  23. Husamuddin, Yaqin. 2015. Opposition to Shale Gas Sparks Algeria Mass Protests. Al Araby. Accessed on 12 December 2016.
  24. Imadalou, Samira. 2015. L’économie face a la multiplication des centres de decision. El Watan. Accessed on 5 February 2015.
  25. International Center for Not-for-Profit Law. 2014. NGO Law Monitor: Algeria. Accessed on 10 March 2015.
  26. Jamal, Amaney A. 2007. Barriers to Democracy: The Other Side of Social Capital in Palestine and the Arab World. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Larmi, Rachida. 2015. A Question of Sovereignty, Justice and Dignity: The People vs. The Government on Fracking in Algeria. Open Democracy. Accessed on 10 March 2015.
  28. Le Soir d’Algérie. 2014. Des députés dénoncent une gestion opaque du Fonds de régulation des recettes. Le Soir d’Algérie. Accessed on 12 December 2016.
  29. Luciani, Giacomo, and Hazem Beblawi. 1987. The Rentier State. London: Croom Helm.Google Scholar
  30. Middle East Eye Staff. 2015. Algeria shelves shale gas plans until 2022 amid fierce protests. Middle East Eye. Accessed on 2 February 2017.
  31. NABNI. 2015a. NABNI présente le plan d’urgence. NABNI website. Accessed on 26 October 2015.
  32. ———. 2015b. NABNI propose un plan d’urgence pour amorcer un changement de voie durable. Maghreb Emergente. Accessed on 2 February 2017.
  33. ———. 2015c. Plan iceberg. NABNI website. Accessed on 26 October 2015.
  34. ———. 2015d. Plan 2016–2018. Douze chantiers d’urgence pour éviter l’iceberg.ésumé-Arabe.pdf. Accessed on 2 February 2017.
  35. ———. 2015e. Présentation. Accessed on 26 October 2015.
  36. Nakhlem, Carole. 2015. Algeria’s Shale Gas Experiment. Carnegie Middle East Center. Accessed on 12 December 2016.
  37. Nield, Richard. 2014. Algeria Looks to Develop Shale Gas Sector. Al Jazeera. Accessed on 12 December 2016.
  38. Overland, Indra. 2012. Slippery Slopes: Pitfalls for the Rulers of Resource-Rich States. In Challenges of the Caspian Resource Boom: Domestic Elites and Policy-Making, ed. Andreas Heinrich and Heiko Pleines, 35–45. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  39. ———. 2015. Future Petroleum Geopolitics: Consequences of Climate Policy and Unconventional Oil and Gas. In Handbook of Clean Energy Systems, ed. Jinyue Yan, 3517–3544. Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
  40. Platform London. 2013. “Gaz de schiste—c’est fasciste!”—Don’t Frack Algeria. Accessed on 2 February 2017.
  41. Reporters and Frontiers. 2014. Press Freedom Ranking. Reporters and Frontiers. Accessed on 5 February 2015.
  42. Rondeleux, Nejma. 2014. La loi de Finances 2015 s’inscrit dans la continuité des précédentes. Huffington Post Algérie. Accessed on 2 February 2017.
  43. Taleb, Yazid. 2014. Algérie-La loi de finances 2015 puise largement dans les ressources du Fonds de Régulation. Maghreb Emergente. Accessed on 2 February 2017.
  44. Tamlali, Yassin. 2015. Southern Algeria Protests Fracking Plans. Al Monitor. Accessed on 12 December 2016.
  45. Transparency International. 2014. Corruption Perceptions Index. Accessed on 28 February 2015.
  46. Volpi, Frédéric. 2013. Algeria versus the Arab Spring. Journal of Democracy 24 (3): 104–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paola Rivetti
    • 1
  • Francesco Cavatorta
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Law and GovernmentDublin City UniversityDublinIreland
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceLaval UniversityQuebecCanada

Personalised recommendations