Despite falling oil prices, Algeria’s state-owned energy company Sonatrach will invest $400 million to develop shale gas – Bloomberg reported yesterday. The project is to start next year and is expected to begin production in 2017.
The investment – which, according to the head of Sonatrach, will be in partnership with another yet-unnamed company – will be a part of Algeria’s $90 billion investment in the country’s oil and gas industry.
During the North Africa Oil & Gas Summit conference in Algiers on Sunday, Said Sahnoun, the Sonatrach’s interim chief executive officer, unveiled the $90 billion program for the years 2015-19, further disclosing that $22 billion of that amount will be invested in Algeria’s natural-gas field development.
The announcement is an update on the $100 billion investment plan for 2014-2018 to increase oil and gas output, approved by Sonatrach at the end of July 2014. At the time Sonatrach also announced that it intended to begin exploitation of the large shale gas fields in Algeria by 2020, with an estimated production capacity of 30 billion cubic meters in the first stage, or 40% of Algeria’s current production capacity (73.4 billion cubic meters in 2012).
According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA), Algeria holds 702 trillion cubic feet of estimated technically recoverable shale gas, which makes it the thrid-richest shale gas country in the world.
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