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Algeria’s Sonatrach to launch first offshore drilling with Total, ENI

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Algeria’s state-owned oil and gas company, Sonatrach has announced that it will launch offshore drilling for the first time with France’s Total and Italy’s ENI on the eastern coast between Bejaja and Skikda.

According to its Director for New resources, Youcef Khankar, the campaign will begin in the second half of this year, with 2D and 3D seismic data acquisition campaigns currently underway.

North Africa Post reported that the North African OPEC member has struggled to attract oil investment in recent years as its tough terms have made foreign companies wary. The company also began a more flexible approach to bilateral talks with foreign partners last year.

According to officials, the targeted region for this new drilling campaign could contain several trillion cubic meters (tcm) of biogenic gas, North African Post reported. Also, initial results from the ongoing 2D seismic campaign suggested possible geological similarities between the east coast and Egypt’s Zohr field which is located in the Mediterranean Sea and is said to contain 30 tcm of natural gas.

Recall that Sonatrach and Total last year agreed to invest $406 million to boost the output of the gas field named Tin Fouye Tabankort Sud. The country’s economy is particularly driven by oil and gas and is the largest member of OPEC in terms of territory.

Meanwhile, the country’s oil output was previously estimated at 1.1 million barrels per day (bpd) but it has cut production by 50,000 bpd under an agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC producers aimed at raising crude prices and petroleum accounts for an overwhelming 85% of the country’s exports.

Source North Africa Post
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