Indicators Of Algeria’s Transformation Into A Global Gas Giant
The first indicators of Algeria’s transformation into a world giant in the natural gas industry through Sonatrach have emerged, both in terms of production and export volumes, which are expected to reach record and unprecedented levels from this year onwards.
Among these indicators, the statements made by the President and General Manager of Sonatrach, Toufik Hakkar, during the opening of the work of the Forum of the Algerian Gas Industry Association in Oran last Tuesday, stand out, when he confirmed that the company will offer 100 billion cubic metres per year exclusively for export over the next five years, which means that Algeria’s exports will reach 500 billion cubic metres within five years, noting that its level will reach 56 billion cubic meters in 2022.
According to statements made by Sonatrach’s CEO, Algeria’s production of natural and liquefied gas will at least exceed 150 billion cubic metres a year, given that internal consumption is currently around 50 billion cubic meters a year, in addition to the quantities exported (100 billion cubic meters), as well as other quantities that are usually pumped back into the wells to improve recovery rates.
Sonatrach’s assertion that it will increase the quantities offered for export from this year onwards follows a call by the President of the Republic at the end of last year, during the National Production Exhibition, to increase production for export to 100 billion cubic meters.
In this context, the national company is developing several gas projects, such as the “Elias Carbonate” reservoir near Hassi R’mel, which was discovered last year following a reassessment of reserves, which amount to 340 billion cubic metres and represent one of the most important operations in the last twenty years.
According to a Sonatrach statement published at the end of January, production from this field has now reached 3.7 million cubic meters and will reach 8 million cubic meters per day by the end of the current month.
Eni, the Italian energy giant, has entered the fray with the acquisition of British Petroleum’s assets in the Ain Saleh and Ain Amenas gas fields, a deal that was finalized a few weeks ago.
As is well known, Eni is one of the companies that has been pumping money into Algeria for decades and continues to do so, so it is likely that the productivity of these fields will improve in the coming period.
The Ministry of Energy also announced a few days ago that its first official, Mohamed Arkab, had met with the CEO of Italy’s Eni, Claudio Descalzi, on the sidelines of the “Seraweek” energy week in Houston, USA. The meeting focused on new investments aimed at shoring up natural gas production.
The national hydrocarbons company is also developing other projects in several regions, particularly in the south of the country, following the record discoveries of hydrocarbons, many of them gaseous, between 2020 and 2022, either through Sonatrach’s own efforts or through bilateral partnerships or, in the future, through the major bidding process for the expected hydrocarbons, which will be the first of their kind under the new hydrocarbon law of 2019.
Among the projects that will increase the quantities of liquefied natural gas (LNG) exported is the Skikda oil and gas port expansion project, whose expansion works are nearing completion, according to a Sonatrach statement published a few days ago.
Once completed, the expansion will allow an increase in LNG shipping capacity, as giant tankers with a tonnage of 220,000 cubic meters will be able to dock there with ease.