| ALGIERS, Sept 20
ALGIERS, Sept 20 Algeria is on track for more
than 9 billion cubic meters a year additional gas output next
year when three delayed projects in its south west come online,
a source at state energy company Sonatrach said.
The third largest gas supplier to the Europe Union, Algeria
has struggled in recent years to increase production of crude
and natural gas because of low foreign investment to boost
output at maturing fields and work new production.
For a year, European Union officials and energy firms have
been pushing Algeria to adapt to more competitive markets,
especially with the fall in crude prices, to attract the
investment needed to pump more gas north again.
Among the projects are Touat Gas set for February 2017 with
an estimated output of 12.8 million cubic metres per day,
Timimoun in March 2017 with 4.6 million cubic metres per day,
and Reggane will provide 8 million cubic metres per day in June.
"The three projects will come online on time, the outcome
will reinforce our position as a reliable gas exporter to
Europe. No delays, the projects will be delivered in 2017," the
Sonatrach source told Reuters.
"Further in the south, we have found a huge potential of gas
around the fields of Akabli and Tidikelt, in addition to Alrar's
project in the east that will deliver gas and oil," the source
A drop in European gas demand dented Algerian exports that
were squeezed by slowing production at mature fields, low
investment and s rapidly increasing domestic need for gas to
Still, Sonatrach has invested to stabilise and increase
production at its large, mature fields and expects to bring five
new gas fields online in the south of the country despite delays
from state bureaucracy.
Gas output is expected to reach 141.3 bcm in 2017, 143.9 bcm
in 2018, 150 bcm in 2019 and 165 bcm in 2020, according to a
In another advance, Algeria's Tiguentourine gas plant
resumed full production for the first time since a militant
attack in 2013, after its third train came back online. The
plant, operated with BP and Statoil with a full capacity of 9
billion cubic metres a year.
At its huge, mature Hassi R'mel field, Sonatrach has engaged
in boasting operations to help bolster production.
Sonatrach is also due to recuperate by the end of 2017
important volumes of gas that have been injected in the past
decades in Hassi Messaoud and its region
Algeria is expected to export 50 billion cubic metres in
2016 to Europe, an increase of 15 percent in comparison with
2015, according to Sonatrach.
Algeria is seen as a natural partner for the European Union
as it looks to diversify energy supplies after the Ukraine
conflict exposed the risks of relying too much on the bloc's top
gas supplier, Russia.
(Editing by Patrick Markey)