Exclusive: Vitol to get up to 2 million barrels of crude a month from Algeria

17 Jan 2018   Algeria

Vitol will get 1.5 to 2 million barrels of crude per month from Algeria’s state oil firm Sonatrach and deliver fuel to the country in exchange, in a rare such deal for the OPEC member, trade sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. The deal will kick off on Feb. 1 with the world’s largest oil trader loading a 1 million barrel cargo, one of the sources said. Algeria is aiming to cut its fuel import bill through the contract, which will last until the year end. Vitol was among nine contenders vying for deal, including oil majors and its major trading house competitors.

Algeria’s shale gas plans will take time, require tough reforms

29 Dec 2017   Algeria

Algeria needs to exploit its shale gas resources to offset a surge in local energy consumption that is eating into vital exports, but developing the industry will take time and require far-reaching reforms at the state energy firm. The North African country is a key gas supplier to Europe, but exports have suffered from delays to several gas projects and a steep rise in the use of subsidized gas at home as the population has grown. Algeria’s gas exports are expected to fall to 54 billion cubic meters in 2017 from 57 billion in 2016, the state energy firm Sonatrach has said. In the decade to 2014, domestic gas consumption has more than tripled. To reverse the fall in exports, Sonatrach has started talks with France’s Total and Italy’s ENI, Sonatrach officials say. The aim is to exploit shale resources estimated at 22 trillion cubic meters, […]

New gas production starts in Algeria

19 Dec 2017   Algeria

Spanish energy company Repsol said it started production from a complex of Algerian gas fields, finishing off one of its most significant African developments. Repsol CEO Josu Jon Imaz joined Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour, the director-general of state energy company Sonatrach, in a ceremony marking the start of production from the Reggane Nord gas fields “This project fits in with the company’s focus on gas as a key transition fuel into a less carbon-intensive energy mix,” the Spanish company stated. “Two-thirds of Repsol’s overall production is gas, which also accounts for three quarters of the company’s reserves.” There are six individual fields within the Reggane Nord complex. At full capacity, production will be the equivalent of about 10 […]

Algeria Invests $2 Billion Into Hassi Rmel Gas Field

7 Nov 2017   Algeria

Algeria’s state energy firm Sonatrach on Monday started $2 billion of new investments into the Hassi Rmel gas field to keep production stable at the country’s biggest gas field. “The objective is to maintain the 190 million cubic metre output for the next 10 years,” Chief Executive Abdelmoumene Ould Kaddour told reporters at the site. Hassi Rmel gas field represents 60 percent of Algeria’s total gas output. It produces between 190 and 210 million cubic metre per day but Sonatrach needed to invest into the field’s compression facilities to maintain output, Kaddour said. “This is a strategic project for us, we need to make sure it will come online 2020. Delays are unacceptable,” he added. […]

KBR to work at gas sites in Algeria hit by terror attacks in recent years

3 Oct 2017   Algeria

Engineering company KBR said Monday it would support construction activity for gas operations in Algeria at two sites hit in terrorist attacks in recent years. KBR, which has headquarters in Texas, said it was awarded a contract for management support services by a joint venture between British energy BP, Algerian energy company Sonatrach and Norwegian major Statoil. “Under the terms of the contract, KBR will provide detail design engineering, procurement services, as well as construction management at the major gas developments at In Salah Gas and In Amenas,” the company stated Monday . Algeria has the 10th-largest natural gas deposits in the world and is the third-largest supplier to Europe. Its exports have been in decline, however, […]

Algeria seen as African leader for renewable energy

11 Jul 2017   Algeria, Renewables

General Electric highlights Algeria’s renewable energy potential during low-carbon conference for African economies. File photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI July 10 (UPI) — Algeria is ahead of the curve when it comes to renewable energy potential in Africa and General Electric aims to ride that momentum, a regional manager said. GE sponsored a conference on renewable energy in the African sector, highlighting Algeria’s lead in wind and solar power developments. By 2030, the government aims to install about 22,000 megawatts of renewable power, which would be about eight times the level of natural gas consumption by today’s standards. Touffik Fredj, the regional chairman and CEO for GE, said that, for its size, Algeria has a great capacity for wind energy. “The country is heavily involved in energy transition and the integration of renewable energies,” he said in a statement . “We look forward to seeing this transition happen and thereby […]

OPEC Insiders Reel After Key Minister Is Fired During Their Meeting

29 May 2017   Algeria

Algerian oil minister learns of dismissal from news report Boutarfa was architect of OPEC, non-OPEC production cut deal As OPEC ministers gathered in Vienna Thursday to agree a nine-month extension of their oil-supply pact, the man credited with bringing about the landmark deal learned from a news broadcast that he had been fired. The story broke as Algerian Energy Minister Noureddine Boutarfa attended a closed session with counterparts early Thursday afternoon. First came an unconfirmed report from an Algerian TV station, according to delegates who were present. More than an hour later, the nation’s official APS news agency confirmed it. Noureddine Boutarfa Photographer: Akos Stiller/Bloomberg It should have been a day of triumph for the man whose dogged diplomacy helped seal the historic alliance between producers of more than half the world’s oil, but the decision appears to have been far removed from events unfolding in Vienna. A day […]

Algeria’s Sonatrach to Invest $50 Billion, Boost Crude Output

23 Mar 2017   Algeria

Algeria’s state-run energy producer plans to boost crude oil output by 14 percent in the four years to 2019 and invest billions of dollars in exploration projects. Sonatrach Group expects to invest $9 billion from 2017 to 2021 in its search for new deposits of oil and natural gas, said Farid Djettou, head of the company’s associations division, which is responsible for foreign contracts. Sonatrach will drill an average of 100 wells annually over the same five years and plans to invest more than $50 billion in all of its operations during this period, Djettou said Wednesday in an interview in the coastal city of Oran. Algeria is Africa’s biggest gas producer and a member of OPEC, and Sonatrach’s exports generate more than half of the government’s budget revenue. The country’s oil output has declined since August 2008, and its production of 1.04 million barrels a day in February […]

Can Natural Gas Rescue Algeria’s Ailing Economy?

9 Feb 2017   Algeria

Algeria is paving the way for a stronger natural gas export profile in Europe, building off of preexisting relationships with Spain, Italy and Portugal, Forbes reported earlier this year. But efforts to restore growth based off energy sector expansion have a limited chance of revitalizing success as two years of low oil prices bear down on government revenues. “Boosting existing fields and new fields coming online this year will push output up,” Sonatrach’s CEO Amine Mazouzi said in January. The Algerian economy needs large-scale government reforms to improve the prospects for its populace in the short and medium terms—and not just the lackluster reforms that entrenched officials have already been pursuing to encourage new businesses and balance the budget by increasing the tax burden on citizens. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has spent the last 18 years building a system that offers Algerians subsidized fuel and food for loyalty and national […]

Algeria’s Sonatrach to Boost Output 20% With New Projects

26 Dec 2016   Algeria

Algeria’s state energy producer Sonatrach Group plans to increase output of natural gas and crude oil by 20 percent in the next four years as new projects start up, Salah Mekmouche, the company’s vice president of exploration and production, said. Sonatrach will bring on stream Tiguentourine, In Salah and Timimoune natural gas projects as well as oil wells of the Berkine basin, after spending $9 billion a year on exploration and development projects since 2015, Mekmouche said in an interview at the company’s Rhourde Nouss gas field southeast of Algiers. Sonatrach also plans to increase production from old oil wells in Hassi Messaoud, he said. Sonatrach plans to “invest as little as possible and produce as much as possible,” Mekmouche said. Algeria is Africa’s biggest natural-gas producer and a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Its crude production increased to 1.16 million barrels a day in November, […]

Algeria’s Dwindling Petrodollars Drive Key OPEC Deal Broker

29 Nov 2016   Algeria

Africa’s biggest sovereign wealth fund slumps after oil crash Oil minister Boutarfa shuttles between capitals to find deal Algerian Energy Minister Noureddine Boutarfa’s shuttle diplomacy between Tehran, Moscow and Vienna before OPEC’s meeting on Wednesday underlines the North African nation’s desperation for a deal. The oil-market rout has seen Algeria burn through cash set aside during the boom years to plug a widening budget deficit. The country’s Revenue Regulation Fund, formerly one of Africa’s biggest state funds, is almost completely depleted after slumping 87 percent since 2013 to about $6.7 billion, according to finance ministry figures. With foreign exchange reserves eroding by more than a third over the same period to $121 billion in September, the authorities started borrowing from overseas for the first time in about two decades. This month, Algeria agreed a 900 million-euro ($996 million) loan from the African Development Bank and signaled more could follow. […]

Why Algeria Will Be A Key Part Of Any OPEC Deal

18 Oct 2016   Algeria

Barkindo Rouhani At the 23rd World Energy Congress in Istanbul last week, talks regarding the OPEC crude oil production freeze took a surprising turn. Energy Minister Noureddine Boutarfa from Algeria has taken the lead on this deal, having facilitated prior negotiations between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Informal meetings took place in Algeria leading up to the announcement on September 28th that the two competing nations could proceed to accept a production freeze. Countries aiming to participate in the deal have failed to agree on key aspects but are now coming to the table. Algeria has been described as one of OPEC’s most negatively affected countries in response to low oil prices. Low oil prices hinder exports and earnings for oil majors, putting their respective countries into economic decline. In order to regain stability, it’s in Algeria’s best interest to make the production freeze succeed. Algeria has a long-standing relationship […]

Statoil, BP Remain Committed to Algeria Despite Violence

14 Jul 2016   Algeria

With strengthened safety measures in place, Statoil and BP pledge their commitment to Algeria despite militant attacks on their facilities in the North African nation. Statoil ASA and BP plc say they will remain in Algeria despite militant attacks on their joint oil and gas operations in the country over the last few years, following the implementation of improved safety measures. “Algeria has been an important country for Statoil in many years, and we have a long term perspective in the country,” Knut Rostad, Statoil’s media contact for international exploration and field development, told Rigzone. BP echoed Statoil’s allegiance to the North African oil producer, with a company spokesperson stating that it has a “long history in Algeria and remains committed to Algeria.” Highlighting their long-term engagement in the country, the European oil and gas firms in February announced the recent start-up of the Southern Fields project in Algeria, […]

Are Low Oil Prices A Bigger Threat Than Terrorism For Algeria?

1 Jun 2016   Algeria

In November 2013, the United States Library of Congress released a report describing Algeria’s macroeconomic position as “strong” during a month when Brent oil prices cruised at $108.08 per barrel—more than 54 percent higher than this Monday’s price at $49.40 per barrel. Indeed, buttressed by the elevated barrel prices, the government’s position had been strong at the point of the report’s writing. Estimates by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said the external debt-to-GDP ratio sat at 1.6 percent in 2013—a strikingly low rate even when the figure is compared internationally with countries more developed than the North African nation. Since oil was discovered in Algeria in 1958, the “superpower” has used profits from the industry to provide electricity to disconnected villages within its borders and build an intricate social welfare and public sector employment policy. To be fair, these systems have been far from perfect. Now, […]

Algeria’s energy outlook for 2016: Do security risks trump investment opportunities?

2 Apr 2016   Algeria

Algeria’s state-owned hydrocarbon firm has endured recent policy adjustments that now provide foreign investors with new opportunities. But increasing energy insecurity threatens to nullify the potential for gain. In the past month alone, two major events unfolded in the Algerian oil and gas sector that will in many ways shape the industry risk outlook for 2016. First, a source at Algeria’s state-owned hydrocarbon behemoth — Sonatrach — announced that it would begin accepting direct negotiations with foreign firms interested in purchasing stakes in 20 Algerian oil and gas fields. Emerging from the aftermath of continuously depressed oil prices, the shift represents an effort to increase revenues by way of new investors in a country where regulations have often stifled prospects. Second, on March 18th, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) launched a series of homemade mortars at Algeria’s Krechba gas plant. Though the attacks did not leave any […]

Oil revenues down, Algeria woos energy investors

23 Mar 2016   Algeria

After a deep slide in oil prices, Algeria’s Sonatrach is shifting strategy to offer foreign firms direct negotiations to buy stakes in 20 oil and gas fields in a bid to attract investors and increase output, a source at the state energy company said. The campaign to bring in energy investment comes at a crucial time for the North African OPEC producer as it tackles lower revenues and stagnating production. Algeria, a key gas supplier to Europe, is also in talks with European Union officials on holding a summit in Algiers in May that will discuss energy investment opportunities in Algeria as EU leaders look to diversify from Russian gas. The switch to bilateral deals follows two energy bidding tenders that failed to attract much interest. A bid scheduled for […]

Algeria: Following Attack, Oil Companies Pull Back

22 Mar 2016   Algeria

Two foreign oil companies pledged to reduce or pull out staff completely at two Algerian natural gas plants following a March 18 attack by militants on the Ain Amenas natural gas plant in eastern Algeria, Reuters reported March 21. BP says it will temporarily pull out all of its staff from the Ain Salah and Ain Amenas natural gas projects over the next two weeks, while Norway’s Statoil says it will reduce staff at the Ain Salah plant. Algiers badly needs the investment and technology of firms such as BP and Norway’s Statoil in order to develop Ain Salah and Ain Amenas, which each account for about 20 percent of Algeria’s natural gas production

BP, Statoil to withdraw staff from Algerian plants after attack

22 Mar 2016   Algeria

A view of a Krechba gas treatment plant, about 1200 km (746 miles) south of Algiers, December 14, 2008. BP and Norway’s Statoil will withdraw staff from two gas plants in Algeria after an attack by militants on one of the sites in the North African country, the companies said on Monday. Militants attacked the In Salah gas plant, operated with state-owned Sonatrach, with rockets on Friday, causing no casualties or damage. Al Qaeda’s North Africa branch claimed responsibility for the attack. Algeria’s energy infrastructure has been heavily protected by the army, especially since a 2013 attack on the In Amenas gas plant, also operated by BP and Statoil, during which 40 oil workers were killed. “BP has decided to undertake a phased temporary relocation of all its staff from the In Salah Gas and In Amenas JVs in Algeria over the next two weeks. This decision has been […]

Statoil gas facility in Algeria hit by explosive

19 Mar 2016   Algeria

Norwegian energy company Statoil said it was dispatching an emergency response team to Algeria following an explosion at one of its gas assets in the country. The company said its In Salah gas facility was “hit by explosive munitions fired from a distance” early Friday morning local time. Its three employees in the area are safe and uninjured , the company said. The company said it was still working on gathering details of the incident and has mobilized its emergency response team from its headquarters in Stavanger, Norway, to coordinate with its joint venture partners on the ground. Terrorists sympathetic with al-Qaida , stormed the country’s In Amenas natural gas facility in January 2013, leaving 38 civilians and 29 militants […]

IMF sees oil price risk for Algeria

16 Mar 2016   Algeria

The International Monetary Fund warned Algeria’s government that deep structural reforms are necessary to buffer against pressure from low oil prices. Algeria has the 10th-largest natural gas deposits in the world and is the third-largest supplier to Europe. Its exports have been in decline, however, because of lagging foreign investments. Crude oil production is around 1.1 million barrels per day and the country is the largest African member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Jean-Francois Dauphin, a regional staff leader for the IMF, said the nation’s economy is under sustained pressure from lingering weakness in oil prices. “The impact of the oil price shock on growth has been limited thus far, but the fiscal and external […]

Algeria to Cope With Effects of Drop in Oil Prices Through Sound, Strict Policy

26 Feb 2016   Algeria

 President of the Republic Abdelaziz Bouteflika affirmed Wednesday that Algeria is determined to “cope with the effects of the drop in oil prices through a sound and strict development economic policy.” “We have no plans to give up the necessary rigour to manage public resources and rationalize our financial options. I would like to affirm that we are determined to cope with the effects of the drop in oil prices through a sound and strict economic development policy,” said President of the Republic in a message to the Algerian workers on the occasion of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the nationalisation of hydrocarbons, read on his behalf by Benamar Zerhouni, adviser to the Presidency of the Republic. “In spite of the acuteness of the crisis, Algeria is not planning to stop investing in the success factors of economic development and even less abandon its basic […]

Algeria to Boost 2016 Oil Output, Offer Rights Amid Global Glut

17 Dec 2015   Algeria

Algeria’s state oil producer Sonatrach Group plans to raise crude output by 5 percent next year and offer energy-exploration rights to foreign companies by the end of March, steps that may add barrels to an oversupplied global market. Algeria, Africa’s biggest natural-gas producer, is seeking to attract international companies to an auction of rights to develop oil and gas fields, including those with hard-to-reach tight deposits, Salah Mekmouche, Sonatrach vice president of exploration and production, said in an interview in Algiers. State petroleum regulator Alnaft will organize the bidding round, taking into consideration feedback from foreign companies to improve on the results of the country’s last auction in 2014, he said. “We hope that oil prices will rise by then as this will increase the interest of companies in the bidding round even more,” Mekmouche said. Sonatrach has struggled to raise production in the aftermath of a corruption probe […]

Italy’s Eni reviews renewables for Algeria

5 Nov 2015   Algeria

Italian energy company Eni said its representatives met with Algerian officials to discuss an energy mix that includes plans for a renewable energy industry. Claudio Descalzi, the chief executive officer at Eni, joined executives from state-owned energy company Sontrach, Algerian Energy Minister Salah Khebri and Prime Minister Abdelmallek Sellel to outline future strategies in the country . “Among other things, they discussed on the energy mix issue and Eni offered its willingness to consider projects in partnership for the development of renewable energy,” the Italian company said in a statement. Algeria has the 10th largest natural gas deposits in the world and is the third-largest supplier to Europe. Its exports have been in decline, however, because of lagging foreign investments. The […]

Algeria Backs Venezuela on OPEC, Non-OPEC Summit to Boost Prices

27 Oct 2015   Algeria, Venezuela

Algeria supports Venezuela’s call for a summit among heads of state from OPEC and other oil-exporting nations in a bid to lift crude prices, Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra said. ”Algeria has always been a pioneer when it comes to strengthening solidarity between producing countries,” Lamamra said Monday in an interview in Paris after meeting President Francois Hollande. “We would only convene a summit if its success is guaranteed; meetings at the level of ministers and experts will therefore precede such an event.” Venezuela has proposed that heads of state from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other oil producers meet in November to discuss the price needed to sustain investments in future supplies, the country’s Oil Minister Eulogio del Pino said on Oct. 21. Speaking in Vienna during a meeting of experts from OPEC and from outside the group, del Pino said Venezuela seeks to set an […]

Algeria Targets Hidden $40 Billion as Oil-Price Pleas Ignored

27 Aug 2015   Algeria

Day and night, trucks trundle the 10 miles from Algiers port to the suburb of Semmar, where workers unload and stack goods that will feed into a vast black market. Merchants pack narrow streets to buy canned and dry fruit, grains and vegetables for cash, with the biggest crowds gathering after dark. Bazaars like this drive a $40 billion untaxed parallel economy, one the government says it can no longer tolerate as the oil slump slashes revenue and fellow OPEC members rebuff Algeria’s pleas for steps to prop up prices. Under the terms of an amnesty, Algerians have a year to deposit income from undeclared businesses with banks and pay a 7 percent fee, or face punishment. For President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s administration, alternative measures — such as cutting a soaring bill for subsidies that helped ward off the strife which has swept the region since 2011 — aren’t attractive. […]

Algeria Writes to OPEC Over Falling Oil Prices

21 Aug 2015   Algeria

Algeria has written to OPEC warning that a new drop in oil prices may warrant fresh discussions over the group’s strategy, people familiar with the matter said, the latest sign of economic stress for some members of the cartel. According to the people, Algerian Oil Minister Salah Khebri last week sent a letter to OPEC’s secretariat complaining oil prices have sharply declined since the group decided to keep its ceiling unchanged at a meeting in June. The international oil benchmark, Brent, now trades around $47 a barrel, compared with $62 a barrel at the time of that meeting. “The letter asked OPEC to consider taking some form of action” though it didn’t specify what measures, one of the people said. Another familiar with the letter said that in conversation with other members, Algeria had pressed for closer cooperation with non-OPEC producers. Economically-fragile countries in the Organization of the Petroleum […]

Algeria Calls for Non-OPEC Output Cut to Stop Oil Price Slump

18 Aug 2015   Algeria, OPEC

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries can do little to halt the oil price decline on its own and needs producers from outside the group to help in reducing global supplies, Algeria’s Energy Minister said. “A supply reduction by OPEC alone cannot really guarantee a return to oil market stability,” Salah Khebri said at an event in Algiers, according to Liberte newspaper. As the 12-member group of crude producing nations accounts for 40 percent of the world’s supply, “there should be steps taken within OPEC and with non-OPECs.” Khebri called earlier this month for an OPEC emergency meeting because of the continued decline in oil prices, which dropped by half from a year ago amid rising production from the U.S. Oil and gas sales account for about 60 percent of Algeria’s budget revenue and 95 percent of its export income, according to the International Monetary Fund. Algeria’s initiative to […]

Algeria Replaces Oil Minister Ahead of OPEC Meeting — State News Agency

15 May 2015   Algeria

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has replaced the country’s oil minister ahead of a crucial OPEC meeting, the country’s state-run news service said on Thursday. Salah Khebri, a consultant and the former head of the Algerian Petroleum Institute, replaces Youcef Yousfi as the country’s minister of energy and mines, said APS, the news agency. Mr. Yousfi, 74 years old, a long-serving Algerian politician, was the president of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in 1998 and 1999. He was named oil minister in 2010. Algeria will be among 12 OPEC nations that gather in Vienna on June 5 to decide whether to continue pumping increasing amounts of oil in the face of falling prices. Like other OPEC nations, Algeria’s budget is highly dependent on oil revenue and has been hurt by prices that have fallen by more than 40% since last summer. Mr. […]

Algerian gas discovery made near Libya

21 Apr 2015   Algeria

Spanish energy company Repsol announced Monday it’s made a natural gas discovery in Algeria, its third in an area bordering war-torn Libya. The company is the operator in a consortium that includes French energy company GDF Suez and Algeria’s state-owned Sonatrach. The company said gas flowed from a discovery at the so-called TESO exploration well in the Sud-Est Illizi block, where it’s already had a “very successful exploration campaign.” The discovery is the third in the same region. The Spanish energy company said gas flowed at a test rate of 6.1 million cubic feet per day. “Repsol aims to drill at least four more additional wells in order to appraise the previous discoveries within the Sud-Est Illizi block,” it said in its statement on […]

Algerian Attempt to Rally Oil Prices Fails to Ignite

18 Mar 2015   Algeria

An Algerian invitation to fellow oil producers to work together on oil prices attracted only Angola this week, as the latest attempt to counter slumping oil prices failed to ignite. A Nigerian proposal last month to convey an emergency meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries immediately fizzled after the group’s kingpin Saudi Arabia opposed the move. Fears of a mounting oil glut amid resilient U.S. oil production and brimming inventories have driven oil prices down again in recent days—after already halving since last June. Writing on behalf of Algerian President Abdulaziz Bouteflika, oil minister Youcef Yousfi sent invitations to a dozen countries, including Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Angola and non-OPEC producer Russia, to discuss a concerted response to falling oil prices as part of “consultative meeting” in Algiers on March 16, according to people familiar with the letter. But only Angola’s oil minister José Maria Botelho de […]

Algeria: Sonatrach – Three Oil Fields Discovered Since Early 2015

27 Feb 2015   Algeria

Three oil fields were discovered by the national hydrocarbon group Sonatrach since the beginning of 2015, said Wednesday in Oran Chief Executive Officer of the oil company Said Sahnoun. “Sonatrach discovered for the year 2015, on its own account, three oil fields of extremely important quality,” Sahnoun told APS on the sidelines of the festivities commemorating the 40th anniversary of the nationalization of hydrocarbons, hosted by the petrochemical zone of Arzew. The first oil discovery was made in the region of Touggourt while the second in Ghardaia. The third gas field was discovered in El Bayadh, said the official. These discoveries are being assessed by Sonatrach, followed by an appraisal programme that will start very shortly, added the source. Sahnoun said that the flows are “extremely encouraging ,” adding that they range between 3,000 and 4,000 barrels/day.

Shale Gas Project Encounters Determined Foes Deep in Algerian Sahara

26 Feb 2015   Algeria

Deep in the Algerian Sahara, daily protests against a pilot hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, project are now well into their second month. The demonstrations have spread to several towns and have provided opposition parties with a new platform at an especially precarious moment for the government, as oil prices have slumped and the declining health of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has removed him almost completely from public view. Hundreds of police officers sealed off streets to block an antifracking march in the capital, Algiers, on Tuesday as opposition groups held rallies around the country in solidarity with the southern protesters in the distant oasis town of Ain Salah. At first glance, Algeria might seem an unlikely place for the sort of popular movement against fracking, a method of tapping into deep deposits of shale gas, that has unfolded in many Western countries. Money from oil and gas accounts […]

Algeria Thwarts Plans to Attack Oil Installations

22 Jan 2015   Algeria

In anticipation of possible attacks on the second anniversary of the Tiguentourine gas plant siege, Algerian troops stepped up security on the southern border. Authorities announced last week the foiling of a series of terrorist operations targeting three areas of oil and gas installations in the south. Army forces already succeeded in dismantling a 12-member terrorist cell that was planning attacks against vital facilities in conjunction with the January 16th anniversary of the In Amenas assault. The operation came a few days after the discovery of weapons and military equipment along the border area with Libya, which sparked fears of a fresh attack targeting oil facilities in the vicinity of Tiguentourine. A defence ministry communique stated that the neutralised terrorist cell was preparing to carry out operations in Algeria in co-ordination with groups operating abroad. The communique pointed to a link between this cell and a terrorist […]

Algeria expects oil price to fall further, delays spending: PM Sellal

22 Jan 2015   Algeria

Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal said late Wednesday he expects the oil price to fall further, adding that Algeria is now in a state of economic “crisis.” Speaking on state television, Sellal said Algeria is to defer a number of key infrastructure projects due to the falling oil price as the slump begins to hit the North African country’s economy. “The decline in the oil price will continue and it will not go back to $120/b,” he said. “We are in a state of crisis,” Sellal said. “Oil is below $50/b, and no one anticipated such a fall.” Algeria’s 2015 budget is based on a price of $60/b. “We will continue to invest in social projects, but we will have to cut certain non-essential spending such as trams and railways. These will be postponed,” Sellal said. Despite the economic crisis, Sellal said Algeria had […]

Algeria Able to Cope With Impacts of Sliding Oil Prices, Says Djellab

4 Dec 2014   Algeria

Algeria’s financial balances will not be affected by sliding oil prices, Minister of Finance Mohamed Djellab declared Monday in Algiers. In a statement to the Algerian television on the impact of oil price fall on the national economy’s financial balances, the minister stressed that Algeria has “mechanisms likely to cope with such situations” and thanks to the “cautious policy” the country has adopted for more than 10 years. Thanks to its policy, Algeria succeeded to refund its debts and therefore, have a “bigger capacity” to prepare for the new economic picture and accumulate huge foreign exchange reserves, Djellab said while insisting on the contribution of the Oil Revenues Fund to face the oil price drop. Oil prices reached their lowest level in the international market for almost five years. The Minister recognized the impact that the fall of oil prices can have on the national economy, saying, […]

Algeria Bucks OPEC-Discount Trend With Venezuela Oil Sale

29 Oct 2014   Algeria

Algeria raised its oil price for November to the highest in five months after adding fellow OPEC member Venezuela , holder of the world’s largest crude reserves, to the list of its mostly European customers. The North African country will sell its Saharan Blend crude at a premium of 70 cents a barrel to Dated Brent, the North Sea benchmark, according to a price list obtained by Bloomberg. That’s the highest level since June and an increase from 20 cents in October. The first supertanker of Algerian crude arrived in Venezuela on Oct. 25, according to ship tracking data. “It’s primarily due to its sales to Venezuela” that Algeria has been able to raise premiums, Amrita Sen, chief oil market analyst at Energy Aspects in London , said by e-mail today. “Otherwise demand for light crudes has been super weak.” The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ biggest producers, including […]

Algeria drawing more interest from energy players

2 Oct 2014   Algeria

Emirati energy company Dragon Oil and its Italian counterpart Enel said Wednesday they were awarded two contracts for oil and gas exploration in Algeria. “This achievement represents a strategic move for Dragon Oil to establish a footprint in another North African country known to be rich in hydrocarbon resources and opportunities,” Dragon Oil Chief Executive Officer Abdul Jaleel al-Khalifa said in a statement. Algeria and Enel will work together in the Tinrhert Nord and the Msari Akabli license areas. Dragon offered no estimate of the reserve potential in the license areas in Algeria. In a separate statement, Enel said it’s the third-largest investor in the Algerian natural gas sector. Some of Enel’s legacy operations in the country could be producing 100 billion cubic feet of natural gas per […]

Statoil, Shell to assess Algerian shale

1 Oct 2014   Algeria

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. […]

Statoil restarts Algerian gas work after terror attack

3 Sep 2014   Algeria

Norwegian energy company Statoil said it was ready to return to work in Algeria more than a year after terrorists stormed a gas facility there. Terrorists sympathetic with al-Qaida stormed the country’s In Amenas natural gas facility in January 2013, leaving 38 civilians and 29 militants dead. Statoil and its joint venture partners said they’re ready to resume ordinary operations at the plant after implementing new security measures at the facility. “The decision to resume ordinary operations at In Amenas is the result of a thorough and stepwise process of identifying necessary security measures, implementing them and validating that they are in place and operational,” Lars Christian Bacher, executive vice president for production at Statoil, said in a statement Monday. In Amenas has a production capacity of approximately 315 million cubic feet of natural gas per year. Algeria’s state-run energy company Sonatrach operates the facility alongside British energy company […]

Algeria Postpones Oil Bids to Sept. 30

25 Aug 2014   Algeria

Algeria has delayed the deadline for its next oil-licence bids by about four weeks, people familiar with the matter said, as companies complain about investment conditions despite recent oil-sector reform. The date set for the submissions to the tender for oil and gas blocks has been reset to Sept. 30 from Sept. 4 previously, people familiar with the matter said. The development comes despite a new Algerian law—passed last year—that improves revenue sharing for companies that invest in difficult blocks, such as the country’s sizable natural-gas shale resources. One main concern for bidders is a clause that allows national oil company Sonatrach to make investment decisions without consulting its foreign partners, according to people at international companies involved in the licensing round. But an Algerian official said the delay was due to the need to handle “numerous applications” for the licensing round. At previous bidding rounds, Algeria has struggled […]

Algeria’s gas role questioned

30 Jul 2014   Algeria

Algeria’s role as a key supplier of natural gas to Europe should be reviewed given production declines, the European Council on Foreign Relations said Tuesday. The European Union spends an average $1 billion per day on energy imports. More than 60 percent of the region’s gas supplies come from foreign suppliers, notably Russia, Norway and Algeria respectively. A policy brief published Tuesday by the European Council on Foreign Relations said the EU has a short-sighted stance on Algeria, which should be viewed as an “unreliable partner.” Mansouria Mokhefi, special adviser for the Middle East and North Africa at the French Institute of International Relations and author of the report, said that, while Europe is eager to diversify an energy sector dependent on Russia, Algeria may not be a good backstop. “Algeria’s sharp rise in domestic energy consumption and concurrent decline in gas production suggests that Algeria […]

Egypt Seeks to Clinch LNG Deal With Algeria, But Will Pay High Price

24 Jul 2014   Algeria, Egypt

Egypt is set for an expensive price tag as it seeks to clinch a deal to import much-needed liquefied natural gas from Algeria, according to people familiar with talks between the two countries. Late last month gas-rich Algeria agreed in principle to supply Egypt with roughly five cargoes containing 145,000 cubic meters of LNG each before the end of the year. The deal, made during a visit by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi to Algiers, is intended to alleviate Egypt’s energy crisis after talks for it to import more gas from Qatar broke down last August due to political tensions. “We had initially hoped that Algeria could be willing to give us a good discount or flexible credit terms, but as we stand we are likely to pay a high price for the deal,” a senior Egyptian oil official said. “Algeria wants us to pay almost $13 per […]

Algeria talks shale with U.S. energy secretary

2 Jun 2014   Algeria

 The Algerian government views shale oil and natural gas as a way to add diversity to its energy sector, Algerian Energy Minister Youcef Yousfi said. Yousfi met with visiting U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz in Algiers to discuss energy developments in the country, more than a year after terrorists stormed the In Amenas gas facility in the country’s eastern desert. “Algeria is currently evaluating the potential for shale oil and gas, attempting to determine the quality of the rock while studying all potential environmental impact,” he said Sunday. “It is absolutely vital for us to use all possible resources to achieve energy security.” Moniz, for his part, said U.S. companies experiencing success in the shale sector were interested in tapping into the Algerian energy market. Algeria has the tenth-largest natural gas deposits in the world and is the third-largest gas supplier to Europe. Its exports have […]

Algeria authorizes shale gas exploitation

22 May 2014   Algeria

Algeria’s Cabinet has announced it will move forward with the exploitation of the country’s large shale gas reserves. The statement carried by the state news agency Wednesday night gave the green light to finding foreign partners to exploit the reserves. According to a 2013 report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Algeria is third globally after China and Argentina in technically recoverable shale gas reserves with 707 trillion cubic feet (20 trillion cubic meters) of reserves. It has yet to be determined if the reserves are commercially viable. The state said 11 wells will be drilled over the next seven to 13 years. Algeria’s once rich oil and natural gas reserves have been declining in recent years.

Algeria oil company to withdraw workers from Libya

20 May 2014   Algeria, Libya

An official close to Algeria’s state oil giant Sonatrach says authorities have decided to evacuate the company’s employees from Libya due to the deteriorating security situation. The decision follows the evacuation of Algerian diplomats from Libya Friday in response to what the Foreign Ministry said was a “clear and present” threat. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement had yet to be made, said Tuesday it was feared that with Algerian diplomats gone, terrorists would target oil workers. Sonatrach is working oil fields in the Ghadames basin in southern Libya, near the Algerian border. A renegade general has taken up arms against the Islamists dominating Libya’s fractured government sparking fighting in major cities. Libya is also home to al-Qaida-linked groups battling the Algerian government.

14 Algerian soldiers killed in ambush

21 Apr 2014   Algeria

Attack on troops tasked with protecting polling stations appeared to carry message for returning president Insurgents ambushed an Algerian military convoy in the mountainous Kabylie region, killing 14 soldiers, the state news agency reported Sunday. The attack came two days after Algeria’s presidential election . The attack near the village of Iboudraren began at 10 p.m. Saturday with 11 soldiers being killed immediately and another three succumbing to their wounds, the agency said. A local official said a large group of insurgents hid on both sides of the road and opened fire with automatic weapons as the military bus drove by. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject. The region has been the site of past clashes, including one three years ago that killed 13 soldiers at an army post. That attack was claimed by the Algeria-based Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. There […]

Discontent Swells as President of Algeria Seeks a Fourth Term

14 Apr 2014   Algeria

With a presidential election on Thursday, most Algerians see a fourth term for the incumbent, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, as a foregone conclusion. Mr. Bouteflika has already been in power 15 years. In the last election in 2009, he was returned to office with an improbable 90 percent of the vote. So tightly controlled is this North African country that, virtually alone in the region, it passed on the Arab Spring. Yet even as the re-election of Mr. Bouteflika, 77, appears inevitable, his insistence on running again, despite his apparent frail health, has increased popular exasperation, revealed unusual signs of division within the ruling elite and provoked an unlikely show of solidarity among opposition parties, both secular and Islamic, which have united in a call to boycott the election. Exceptionally, a nascent urban middle-class youth movement, Barakat! (“Enough!” in Arabic), styled along the lines of the protests organized through […]

Algeria readies oil, gas auction

23 Jan 2014   Algeria

Algeria called on oil and natural gas companies to prepare for an August auction for exploration and exploitation of natural resources in the country. Sid Ali Betata, director of the National Agency for the Promotion of Hydrocarbon Resources, announced the call for tenders Tuesday, the official Algeria Press Service reported. The announcement comes one year after terrorists sympathetic with al-Qaida stormed the country’s In Amenas natural gas facility, leaving 38 civilians and 29 militants dead. Algeria has the 10th 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. In Amenas has a production capacity of approximately 315 million cubic feet of natural gas per year, its operators Sonatrach, BP and Statoil said. In terms of oil, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said Algeria had 12.2 […]

Algerian oil, gas output set to rise in next five years: Sonatrach

27 Dec 2013   Algeria

Algeria’s oil and gas production is expected to increase in the coming five years, reversing the decline in volumes seen in recent years, according to state oil and gas company Sonatrach. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the company’s general assembly earlier this week, Sonatrach head Abdelhamid Zerguine said Algeria’s hydrocarbons production was “showing signs of recovery.” Algeria’s crude oil production stood at 1.14 million b/d in November, according to a Platts survey of OPEC and industry officials. This represents a drop of around 15% from average production of 1.3 to 1.4 million b/d for most of the period from 2005 to 2010. According to the US government’s Energy Information Administration Algeria’s gas production was 2.9 Tcf in 2011, having declined steadily since 2005 as its larger, more mature fields depleted. Zerguine said the decline in output seen over the last decade was […]

Algeria: New Algeria Oilfield ‘Biggest in Decades’

16 Nov 2013   Algeria, Oil Supply

Algiers — Algeria uncovered the largest new oil field in the country in more than 20 years, officials announced last month. Sonatrach “discovered a new oilfield with around 1.3 billion barrels in the Amguid Messaoud basin in the north central part of Algeria”, Energy Minister Youcef Yousfi said October 26th. The site is around one hundred kilometres from Hassi Messaoud, Algeria’s biggest oilfield. The minister said it would be developed over the next three or four years. This new discovery has rekindled the debate between the Algerian political classes and economists over the economy’s almost total reliance on income from the oil industry. Rachid Mouni, an Algeria Green Alliance MP, said that the dependence on oil revenues “gives a false impression of the national economy. Economic and financial indicators show Algeria to be in a comfortable position, whereas the reality is quite different, with the economy still vulnerable.” That […]