Friday, 24 September 2010

Algeria launches third oil and gas licensing round

Algeria has launched its third oil and gas licensing round in hope of new investment for the country's energy industry. Previous bidding rounds in 2008 and 2009 were largely unsuccessful as international oil companies complained that the terms stipulated by Algeria's state oil company, Sonatrach, were too inflexible to be worth the risks.

According to energy industry insiders Sonatrach is unlikely to make major changes in its terms, but a lot will depend on which 10 blocks are put on offer. The contractual conditions will not be disclosed before 30th September and further "clarification meetings" will take place between October and December, with opening of the bids scheduled for 3rd March.

Sonatrach has a 51 per cent stake in all upstream operations and there's a tax on every barrel of oil sold at more than $30. It is estimated that Algeria has 12.27 billion barrels of oil reserves and 4.51 trillion cubic metres of natural gas reserves. Oil and gas account for 97.5 per cent of the country's export, making it the world's third largest exporter of liquefied petroleum gas, the fourth largest exporter of liquefied natural gas and ninth largest oil exporter.

According to online sources 70 international companies were qualified to bid in the forthcoming licensing round, including Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Total, Gazprom, BP, Repsol and Eni.

Source: UPI

For more news and expert analysis about Algeria please see Algeria Focus and Algeria Politics & Security.

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