Sonatrach Plans $12Bn Spending Hike
Algerian state firm Sonatrach says it is likely to hike its 2012-16 energy investments by $12bn to $80bn. “We envisage spending more than $68bn,” Sonatrach CEO ʹAbd al-Hamid Zerguine told last week’s World Gas Conference in Kuala Lumpur, adding that the level of spending will “probably reach $80bn,” according to state news agency Algerie Presse Service
The lower figure was contained in Sonatrach’s previously announced 2012-16 spending plans (MEES, 20 February). The share devoted to the upstream will remain at 82%. Sonatrach is giving increasing prominence to its plans to explore for shale gas — given the expense of such drilling this will require additional funds if it is not to cannibalize the company’s already-stretched upstream budget.
Algeria’s First Shale Drilling
Sonatrach says drilling of Algeria’s first ever shale gas well is underway in the Ahnet Basin south of the BP-operated In Saleh fields and that two further wells will soon follow. The drilling “will enable us to greatly improve our understanding of the extent of our non-conventional gas reserves, as well as to develop our extraction techniques for this type of gas,” the company director Kamal al-Din Shikhi said at last week’s World Gas Conference, APS
A recently-commissioned study suggests that, over the 180,000 sq km area covered by the study, Algeria has 600mn cu ms/sq km of shale gas in place — a total of 108 trillion cu ms, of which 20% (22 tcm or 760 trillion cu ft) may be recoverable. The need to attract firms which have mastered the necessary technology to help Algeria push through its plans to develop its massive shale gas reserves has been a key driver behind the planned introduction of more attractive terms for upstream investment (MEES, 14 May).
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