Sonatrach chalks out energy strategy in Algeria

exploration-algeriaAlgerian company Sonatrach has announced that it would intensify its exploration efforts by drilling 125 wells a year and expand its transportation network to help boost oil and gas production over the next five years

The OPEC country’s crude oil and gas production has stagnated in recent years, stymied by a lack of foreign investors because of bureaucracy and security concerns, according to Reuters.

Algeria is also expected to begin gas production in six fields in the next three years. The Amenas plant, which produced about 11.5 per cent of Algeria’s gas before an attack by militants nearly two years ago, would return to full production.

Sonatrach’s interim chief Said Sahnoun said that the company would invest about US$80bn by 2019 to boost production to 637mn cu/m of oil equivalent, adding that he did not expect lower oil prices to affect spending plans.

The state-owned firm’s executive added that development plans included building up transportation network and a focus on less mature fields around Illizi, Berkine, Hassi Messaoud and Hassi R’mel areas.

“I remain optimistic about our energy output for the coming years and we are ready to work with all of our partners,” Sahnoun noted.

In 2013, Algeria’s total production was 543mn cu/m of oil equivalent, including 342.6mn cu/m from natural gas, 19.2mn cu/m from crude oil and 3.3mn cu/m from condensate.
Sid Ali Betata, head of Algeria’s hydrocarbons agency, said that a new round was still being studied.

Only four of 31 areas on offer were taken by foreign consortiums that included Spain’s Repsol, Shell and Norway’s Statoil in the North African country’s first attempt to draw investors since the 2011 round.

Gabino Lalinde, director of Repsol, said the Spanish company and its partners will invest US$2bn between May 2015 and May 2017 to begin production at the Reggane gas field with a capacity of eight million cu/m per day.

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