Despite growing protests form the local population, Algeria’s state-owned giant Sonatrach has announced it will invest no less than “$70 billion” for the exploitation of shale gas in the country.
The news was announced by the CEO of Sonatrach, Said Sahnoun, despite the mounting opposition against fracking, which is seen as a hazard to the environment and a threat to the local population. Last week has seen demonstrations with 2,000 people protesting in the city of Tamanrasset, urging that the nearby shale gas project be halted.
Mr Sahnoun acknowledged the protesters’ concerns, saying: “We must clarify ambiguities around shale gas (…) maybe we have not sufficiently communicated on the subject, the fears are justified. (…) The pilot well In Salah is in the process of producing clean gas. There is a control of water releases.”
According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA), Algeria has 707 trillion cubic feet of estimated technically recoverable shale gas. According to Sonatrach estimates, Algeria should drill 200 wells per year to be able to produce 20 billion m3 annually. The country relies heavily on oil and gas revenues, with oil accounting for over 95% of export earnings.
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