Algeria-based Sonatrach has eliminated Spanish oil company Repsol YPF and energy company Gas Natural from an E5 billion project to develop natural gas in the country, according to Thomson Financial.

Discarding the Algerian move, Repsol has said that it will appeal against the decision through international arbitration. Repsol held 48% of the Gassi Touil project and Gas Natural 32%, with Sonatrach holding the balance.

Sonatrach said that the Spanish groups were eliminated from the project for holding and cost overruns in the construction of the gas terminal, which was due to begin shipping liquefied natural gas in 2009.