The oil patch is reeling from a political crisis in Algeria that first saw Exxon halt its prospective shale ambitions in the country, and has now spread to major trading houses and far beyond borders. Earlier this week, Algeria’s state-run oil company Sonatrach shuttered plans for a trading joint venture just as it was about to choose a partner from among trading giants Vitol, Gunvor, French Total SA and Italian Eni. And as far away as Greece, another deal for the sale of a 50.1-percent stake in Greece’s largest refiner, Hellenic Petroleum, is also falling apart because a consortium of Algeria’s Sonatrach and trader Vitol were among those short-listed for bidding (though there were other Greek-style complications with this deal, too). In an official statement, the Greek government attributed the lack of offers to “reasons related to the short-listed parties and recent developments in the international environment.” In other […]