Following last month’s ouster of Algeria’s oil minister, the head of state firm Sonatrach evidently feels under pressure to come up with some good numbers.

Foreign investment in Algeria’s upstream has dried up due to the miserable terms on offer – only four of 31 blocks were awarded in the most recent bid round in 2014. A follow-up round has been repeatedly delayed: probably best to save the country’s blushes given that there is no sign of improved terms.

And...