ExxonMobil and Algeria’s national company, Sonatrach, hindered their discussion to develop Algeria’s natural gas field as a wave of unrest takes over the country, industry sources said, Reuters reported.

The talks between the two companies began several months ago, aiming to develop a field in the southwestern Ahnet basin, the sources close to the discussions said.

The companies’ discussions came in line with their goal of deepening their business ties, especially after Sonatrach’s acquisition last May of Exxon’s Augusta refinery in Sicily, Italy.

The North-African country’s unrest case resulted from the wave of protests over President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s 20-year rule, the sources said.