Norwegian energy company Statoil and its counterparts at Shell said Tuesday they’d spend the next two years assessing the shale gas potential in Algeria. “Statoil is entering this shale play to test the prospectivity and commerciality through a step-wise approach,” Nick Maden, a senior vice president of exploration for Statoil, said in a statement. “The first exploration phase is expected to last up to 2017 and include the drilling of two wells.” Statoil and Shell entered a license in an Algerian shale area alongside state energy company Sonatrach, which holds the controlling interest. Algeria has the tenth-largest natural gas deposits in the world and is the third-largest gas supplier to Europe. Its exports have been in decline, however, because of lagging foreign investments. […]