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  • Further to Post 134:

    ZURICH (AFX) - ABB LTD said it has won a 215 mln usd order from Algeria's oil and gas company Sonatrach to boost oil production.

    The Swedish-Swiss engineering group said the scope of supply includes engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning of the new pumping stations, terminal upgrades, and a 44-kilometer-long fuel pipeline.

    The group will also provide Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems, instrumentation and electrical equipment.

    ABB wins US$215 million order from Algeria's Sonatrach to boost oil production

    ABB said the contract includes engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning work on two new pumping stations along Algeria's NK-1 crude pipeline, as well as upgrade work to the Skikda oil terminal and a 44-kilometer long support pipeline.

    The 665-kilometer long NK-1 pipeline links Algerian oil fields at Haoud El Hamra with the Mediterranean port of Skikda.

    As part of the transaction, ABB will also provide supervisory control and data acquisition systems, instrumentation and electrical equipment.

    The project will be designed and managed by ABB's Italian unit, the company said.

    Earlier this month, ABB received a $210 million contract for natural gas compressor stations at Hassi R'Mel, Algeria.

    ABB gets $215 million oil & automation supply order in Algeria


    • Saipem has been awarded 13 new contracts for the charter of onshore drilling rigs worth an estimated total of USD 280 million.

      Drilling will take place in Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, Algeria, Egypt, Peru and Venezuela, for periods ranging between 4 months and 5 years, depending on the terms of each contract.

      Saipem currently operates a fleet of more than 40 onshore drilling and workover[1] rigs in Saudi Arabia, North Africa, Caspian, Latin America and Italy. An estimated half of these have the capability to drill to a depth of more than 6,000 metres.

      These contracts allow Saipem to further consolidate its position in those areas where it has a long-standing presence in its onshore and offshore construction business, taking advantage of synergies and leveraging local content.

      Saipem (43% owned by Eni) is a leader in the provision of Engineering, Procurement, Project Management and Construction services for the Oil & Gas Industry, with unique capabilities in designing and executing large scale offshore and onshore projects. Saipem has a strong bias for operating in deepwater and remote areas. It has significant technological competence in gas monetization and heavy oil exploitation.

      Saipem awarded new onshore drilling contracts


      • ALGIERS (Reuters) - A multibillion dollar project to pipe Nigerian gas to Europe across the Sahara via Niger and Algeria is feasible technically and economically, the three countries on Tuesday quoted an independent study as saying.

        The countries' energy ministers told a joint news conference called to announce the results of the review by UK consultancy Penspen/IPA that their governments would now seek financing for the venture and study its social and environmental impact.

        The project, with capital costs estimated at $10 billion, would send 20 billion to 30 billion cubic metres a year of gas to Europe via a 4,128 km (2,580 mile) pipeline starting in 2015.

        "The study shows the project's feasibility and its technical and economic viability," said Algerian Energy and Mines Minister Chakib Khelil.

        Trans-Sahara gas pipeline feasible, Africans say


        • Algerian experts called the Government to revise the partnership agreement on natural gas concluded with the European Union given that it is a strategic good and a strong arm to be used in exchanges between Algeria and the European Union. During the Summer University of the confederation of financial and accountability executives organised in the head office of Friedrich & Hebert Enterprise in Algiers, former Algerian ambassador in Spain Abdelaziz Rahabi addressed the audience about the partnership between the Maghreb and Europe. He said that the partnership process has failed and must be corrected. Algeria did not negotiate about gas as a strategic good and the driving force of the long term hydrocarbons exports.

          Algeria exports 24 billion m³ of gas yearly to Italy and 12 m³ to Spain. 10% of the French requirements for gas come from Algeria. Guarantees of providing supplies at any circumstances are given by Algeria. But Algeria obtains no return from Europe which is expending towards the East as part of its new proximity policy. This policy is threatening the future of relations with the southern bank. Rahabi, also former Minister of Culture and Communications, witnessed the birth of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership in Madrid in November 1995. He said that it is high time to negotiate about such an issue, which was not tackled before the adoption of the 2002 partnership agreement, and to find the means likely to remedy the failure.

          Agreement on natural gas: Algerians call for the revision of the European partnership


          • Sonatrach Company redoubled fire smothering crews to deal with the incident at Nezla well situated at Kaci Touil in Ouergla wilaya (province). The fire that broke out last Friday was controlled yesterday, according to reliable sources.

            Ouergla local authorities strengthened the security cordon over the Kaci Touil region, where many civil protection and fire brigade personnel rushed to provide help. The fire resulted in 4 dead and ten injured requiring medical attention.

            Whereas a Sonatrach company communiqué referred to a technical breakdown that resulted in an oil leak accompanied by an uncontrolled fire, in terms of the incident's causes, Inib company sources said that “ fire broke out because of a gas leak, it’s been preceded by a deflagration causing a deep hollow. It is noteworthy that the hollow’s depth couldn’t be determined because of the heat.

            Nezla well fire: Sonatrach dispatches all fire-fighter crews


            • MILAN (AFX) - Edison SpA said it has signed a contract with Algeria's Sonatrach to import 2 bln cubic metres of natural gas per year over the period 2008-2019, starting June-October 2008.

              The gas will be imported via the Transmed pipeline, which runs via Tunisia to Italy, and which is being expanded by the Trans Tunisian Pipeline Company, Edison said in a statement.

              'The gas sector is a key element for Edison's expansion, which includes the aim of becoming Italy's second oil and gas company, as well as a player on the international stage,' it said.

              'With this contract, Edison continues to expand its supply sources, getting close to its target of having 19 bln cubic metres of gas available in 2011, and a 20 pct market share,' it said.

              Other sources include gas imported via its LNG terminal being built in Rovigo, near Venice, which will be operational in 2008, and via new pipelines from Algeria and Greece, it said.

              Edison in contract with Algeria's Sonatrach to import 2 bln cubic metres/yr gas

              (AGI) - Milan, Sept 21 - Edison closed a deal with the Algerian energy giant Sonatrach. The news is confirmed by sources within the company of Foro Buonaparte. According to the agreement, the Algerian company has to supply 2 milliard cubic metres of gas per year to Edison. Sonatrach, through other deals, will also sell 500 million cubic metres of gas to Compagnia Italiana Gas, 450 million cubic metres to World Energy and 250 million to Bridas Energy International, a total of 3,2 milliard cubic metres per year. The gas will be transported over the pipeline of the Trans Tunisian Pipeline Company that connects the North African country to Italy, passing through the Mediterranean Sea.
              Last edited by Guest 123; 22 September 2006, 16:18.


              • Johannesburg (African News Dimension) September 22 - - Nigeria and Algeria are to meet and discuss implementation strategy for the proposed Trans-Saharan gas project.

                The 4 400 kilometre gas pipelines to be constructed from the oil-rich Niger Delta in Nigeria through Niger Republic is expected to flow at 18bn cmpy reaching up to 25bn cmpy from Warri in Nigeria to Beni Saf, Algeria, and finally to consumers in Europe.

                Nigeria's Guardian reports that the Algerian minister for energy, Dr Chakib Khelil, is at the head of the country's delegation to the two-day meeting, which is expected to examine the report of a technical committee set up to draw up the initial plan for execution of the project.

                The ministerial committee is also expected to assess the commercial viability of the project; the strategy for its financing; ownership structure; and to discuss environmental issues as well as the relationship between the two principal initiators of the project and the pipelines host countries like Niger Republic.

                The $6 billion Trans-Saharan gas project contract was awarded to the United Kingdom-based pipeline engineering group, Penspen.

                The project is being undertaken by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Algeria's Sonatrach on behalf of the government of the two countries.

                The project was proposed under the New Partnership for African Development (Nepad) initiative to connect to gas resources in Nigeria and Algeria and carry them to consumers who could access the gas along the pipeline's route and at its terminal point on the Mediterranean coast of Algeria.

                Algeria and Nigeria signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in January 2002.

                The project will represent the biggest market outlet, after the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project, for Nigeria's huge gas deposits put at 165 tcf.

                Algeria, Nigeria meet on Trans-Saharan gas project


                • New Delhi September 22 - - In a major move towards the commissioning of its $2.2 billion refinery at Vadinar in Gujarat, Essar Oil has imported the first consignment of crude for starting the refinery by end-October or early November.

                  Essar imported one million barrel of Saharan blend sweet crude from Algeria at the Vadinar port yesterday, industry sources said. It has contracted another one million barrel Dubai light crude from Vitol for delivery on September 26-27.

                  The refinery would initially produce seven million tonne of petrol and diesel, mainly for exports, as domestic marketing margins are considered unattractive. The 10.5 million tonne refinery would reach its full capacity in March-April 2007.

                  Essar Oil imports 1mn barrel crude


                  • Petroceltic International plc provides an update on its testing operations at the ISAS-1 exploration well in the Isarene Permit, Illizi Basin, Algeria, which were completed last night (21 September 2006).

                    Log analysis indicated the presence of gas saturated sandstone at three separate levels in the well (Ordovician, Devonian and Carboniferous) including a potential gross gas column in excess of 230m in Ordovician Unit IV and Unit III tight sandstones.

                    Initial, unstimulated, well testing of the three intervals is now complete with gas flowing on test on each of these three intervals. However, details of the test results and possible associated reserves await the approval of the Algerian authorities before they can be published.

                    The ISAS-1 well will now be suspended in order to facilitate further evaluation which may include well stimulation via hydraulic fracturing. In accordance with the Production Sharing Contract for Isarene, Petroceltic intends to immediately submit a discovery declaration for the Carboniferous interval to Sonatrach and the Algerian Ministry of Energy.

                    On completion of the ISAS-1 well suspension the rig will move to the HTTW-1 location where drilling is expected to commence in approximately three weeks.

                    Commenting on the well results John Craven CEO of Petroceltic said “I am encouraged by the results of ISAS-1, our first exploration well in Algeria. The presence of gas at three separate stratigraphic levels confirms our view of the multi zone prospectivity of the Isarene permit and the exploration potential of this area of the Illizi Basin.”

                    The above information has been reviewed and verified by Mr. John Craven, Director and Chief Executive Officer of Petroceltic, for the purposes of the Guidance Note for Mining, Oil and Gas Companies issued by the London Stock Exchange in March 2006.

                    Pictures of Petroceltic’s gas testing are available on the Company’s web site,

                    Petroceltic International Plc: Algeria drilling / testing update

                    Petroceltic buoyed by Algerian results


                    • LONDON (AFX) - First Calgary Petroleums Ltd, an oil and gas exploration company focused in Algeria, said it expects to start production at its MLE Field in 2009.

                      The company said it expects to get an approval licence from Algerian authorities for an Exploitation Licence Application at the site in the second half of 2006 and an engineering, procurement and construction contract in 2007. In a drilling update FCP said it is continuing with its active exploration programme at Block 405b and will reach the end of its 5-year exploration phase at the end of the year.

                      The company said recent drilling activities at at the block have focused on exploring the block more thoroughly, as it will relinquish the part without discoveries at the end of the year, in order to maximise retention of the most attractive acreage.

                      Chief executive Richard Anderson said: 'We have now finalised our operational plans for the rest of 2006, in the light of results from recent drilling which were the subject of technical meetings in Algiers, completed last week. In the north-west of the block, the ZER-1 well tested hydrocarbons at sufficient rates to support the drilling of a further well on the structure, ZER-2, located 4.3 km to the SW.

                      He added that: 'As a result of our drilling to date, a new core area for future appraisal and potential development is emerging in the central area of the block, west of MLE. We plan to drill two further wells in the area before the end of the year: LES-6 and LEC-2.

                      'By the end of the year all attractive exploration targets will have been drilled and we will have significantly advanced the appraisal of existing discoveries.'

                      First Calgary sees production at MLE field in Algeria starting in 2009


                      • MOSCOW ( --Gazprom, the world's largest producer of natural gas, and Russia's largest enterprise, has disclosed that it is considering a plan to explore for gas and oil in Equatorial Guinea.

                        A Gazprom spokesman told Mineweb that Gazprom's deputy chief executive, Alexander Medvedev, was in Equatorial Guinea this week, and met the President, the Minister of Power, and the head of Sonagas, Guinea's national gas company. They agreed to study joint projects for development of local gas infrastructure, gas supplies for electricitry generation, and production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for export.

                        Sonagas is the national gas company of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea with activity directed on development of projects in the field of extraction, processing and transportation of gas and LNG. Suntera, a commercial joint venture between Russia's Itera and the Indian Sun Group, is a co-signatory of the memorandum of understanding with Gazprom and Sonagas.

                        Itera, the second string Russian gas producer, told Mineweb that it is very early days in its African strategy. "We do not exclude cooperation with Gazprom on African projects," said Evgeny Ostapov. "We have signed with Gazprom the agreement on cooperation on the Bratsky deposit [in Russia], and we have good relations." Itera was also a participant in President Vladimir Putin's recent trip to South Africa. "I can say only that our SA trip was more familiarization than of some practical use. We are looking closer to the country, and the available possibilities there.”

                        Gazprom's foray into Guinea is its first formal venture in sub-Saharan Africa. In July, Gazprom capped six months of negotiations with Sonatrach, the state gas production company of Algeria, to sign a detailed plan of cooperation with the Algerians. At the time, Gazprom's board chairman Dmitry Medvedev, the Kremlin chief of staff, met with Chakib Khelil, Energy and Mining Minister of Algeria, and addressed what Gazprom reports as "issues of multilateral cooperation in the oil and gas sector, including liquefied natural gas supply, and examined the possibility of implementing joint projects in international energy markets." Particular attention was paid, Gazprom says, "to cooperation in the LNG sector, with Sonatrach to be potentially involved in the Baltic LNG project.

                        A source close to Gazprom explains that ties between the Russians and Algerians go back many years in the Soviet period, when Moscow supplied an estimated $10 billion worth of arms on postponed credit terms; and through Soviet prospecting organizations, helped Sonatrach find some of the major gas deposits it is currently exploiting. The recent joint memorandum anticipates that Gazprom will assist Sonatrach in finding fresh reserves within the country, and cut its pipeline costs in getting products to Algeria's ports. Algerian gas remains more expensive to produce, and to consume, than Russian gas.

                        According to the source, Gazprom is looking to negotiate a geographic market carve-up of natural gas that will increase Gazprom's penetration of the Spanish and Portuguese markets; at the same time, the combination of the two suppliers should fully occupy the European market, and make it difficult for any other gas producer - notably Iran, Kazakhstan, or Turkmenistan - to entertain the idea of competing in the westward direction. Gazprom and the Iranians are looking to negotiate a parallel carve-up of the eastern Asian market.

                        South of Guinea, the only other notable Russian oil venture to date was marked by the signing in April of a joint oil and gas exploration venture in Namibia between Sintezneftegaz of Moscow and PetroSA of South Africa. The Russians acknowledge also the potential for joint ventures in Angola, where LUKoil, Russia’s largest oil producer and exporter, is negotiating concessions. Nobel Oil, a Russian oil junior, is actively pursuing concessions in Angola also, but is reluctant to talk about it.

                        Gazprom probes Equatorial Guinea for oil and gas


                        • ALGIERS, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Algeria is likely to publish practical measures in coming months enabling a key energy law to take effect by early 2007, Energy and Mines Minister Chakib Khelil said on Thursday.

                          The oil and gas producing country this month enacted a law giving state-run company Sonatrach, Africa's biggest company by revenue, a more central role and introducing a windfall tax on international oil companies.

                          The law cannot be implemented in practice, and no new upstream ventures can be launched, until detailed implementation measures are finalised as an annexe to the law and published in the government gazette.

                          "We cannot set a date for the moment, but we are likely to start implementing the law by early next year after publishing the implementation text," Khelil said in brief remarks to reporters about a possible timetable for the law.

                          "The seventh licensing round is planned for early 2007," he added, referring to the country's next international exploration and production licensing round.

                          The law, a reversal of a planned energy liberalisation, is popular with a population suffering deep unemployment.

                          But the change has received a mainly guarded reception in private among foreign oil firms, which have steadily increased their share of Algerian production over the past 15 years.

                          The country aims to increase oil output to two million barrels per day (bpd) by 2010, from between 1.4 million bpd and 1.5 million bpd now, and to produce 85 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas per year in the next five years from 62 bcm now.

                          The new law assigns Sonatrach an automatic 51 percent of all new ventures in the energy sector.

                          Foreign oil companies working in the country have declined to comment on the latest changes until the annexe is published.

                          Among the details the annexe will spell out are a definition of the excess profits that will now be subject to a windfall tax in any month in which Brent crude averages over $30/barrel...

                          Algeria says energy law likely to start early 2007


                          • LONDON, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Irish oil and gas explorer Petroceltic is in early discussions that could lead to the sale of a stake in its key asset in Algeria to oil giant BP, a source familiar with the matter said on Friday.

                            The company has had initial talks with BP about a deal which could lead to a sale of up to 49 percent of its interest in the 10,800 square kilometre block, the source said.

                            A spokesman for BP declined immediate comment.

                            Petroceltic Chief Executive John Craven would not comment on BP's involvement, but he did confirm that the group had received offers from a number of oil majors.

                            "We have had unsolicited approaches from oil & gas companies for participation in the block," he told Reuters in an interview. "We are perceived as a small company, so the large majors in Africa think we need a partner."

                            He added that whether he would go ahead with the sale would depend on what each company offers.

                            At 0945 GMT, shares in the company, which is listed on London's Alternative Investment Market, were 11.3 percent higher at 14-3/4 pence, valuing the business at around 100 million pounds ($187 million).

                            Craven said BP had two Algerian blocks adjacent to Petroceltic's asset - known as the Isarene block - but that they were a lot smaller.

                            Petroceltic currently owns 75 percent of Isarene, with the remaining 25 percent controlled by Algerian state owned oil firm Sonatrach.

                            Petroceltic in Algeria stake sale talks-source


                            • ALGIERS, Sept 29 (KUNA) -- Minister of Mining and Energy Chekib Khalil stated Friday that oil prices were liable to go up in the course of the coming winter.

                              Recently, oil prices witnessed a drop from USD 78 to USD 60 per barrel.

                              The minister told reporters "prices would settle at the current value or might decrease a little bit, but it would go up again in the future." He assured that the current prices would not continue on due to increasing global demand for oil during winter.

                              Oil prices to go up this winter due to fierce demand - Algerian Minister


                              • Sonatrach seeks French experience to define petrochemistry sector policy


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