Eni, Total partner with Sonatrach for offshore exploration in Algeria

Eni announced that it, Total and Sonatrach, Algeria’s state oil company, have signed two agreements which include an exclusive partnership for offshore exploration in Algeria. “In parallel, Eni and Total will also pursue obtaining exploration permits that will allow for the rapid completion of the hydrocarbon potential assessment,” Eni said in a company statement posted on its website. Eni’s CEO, Claudio Descalzi, described the deep waters of the Algerian offshore as a “virtually unexplored” geological province. “Together with Sonatrach and Total, we will have the opportunity to explore the deep waters of the Algerian offshore, a virtually unexplored geological province where Eni will be able to contribute by leveraging its experience in the Eastern Mediterranean and its inventory of advanced exploration technologies,” Descalzi said in an Eni statement. Algeria’s state-owned oil and gas company Sonatrach will launch offshore drilling with France’s Total and Italy’s ENI on two sites in the east and west of Algeria at the start of 2019, its chief executive said on Sunday. The Chairman and Director General of Algeria’s state oil company Sonatrach, Abdelmoumem Ould Kaddour, the CEO of Eni, Claudio Descalzi, and the CEO of Total, Patrick Pouyanné, signed two agreements during the Algeria Future Energy Summit in Algiers today, which include an exclusive partnership for offshore exploration in Algeria.

In addition to the agreements above, Eni revealed Monday that it has also signed a separate agreement that will see the company take a 49 percent stake in three oil concessions in the onshore North Berkine basin, located in the Algerian desert. The agreement will cover three areas; Sif Fatima II, Zemlet El Arbi and Ourhoud II. Sonatrach will retain a 51 percent stake. Eni said it and Sonatrach will carry out an “important exploration program in order to develop the reserves of the three blocks, estimated at 145 million barrels of oil equivalent”. Production is expected to start by the end of 2020. Eni’s entry into the three concession contracts is subject to approval by the Algerian authorities. Eni has been present in Algeria since 1981 and currently participates in 32 mining permits with an equity production in the country of 90,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. Total’s exploration and production activities in Algeria date back to 1952. In 2017, Total’s production in Algeria averaged 15,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. In parallel, Eni and Total will also pursue obtaining exploration permits that will allow for the rapid completion of the hydrocarbon potential assessment.

Abdelmoumene Ould Kaddour told reporters on the sidelines of a signing ceremony with Total for a petrochemical plant that will produce 550,000 tonnes of polypropylene per year. “The potential is huge. We have gas in the east around Skikda, and oil in the west around Mostaganem,” he added. Sonatrach and Total have also agreed to invest $406 million to boost the output of the gas field named Tin Fouye Tabankort Sud. “Our partnership with Total is good and it allows us to implement our long term strategy,” Ould Kaddour told reporters. Total Chairman and Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne said in a statement earlier on Sunday that Total and Sonatrach had signed new agreements, including a contract to develop the Erg Issouane gas field. Eni has been present in Algeria since 1981, and currently participates in 32 mining permits with an equity production in the country of 90,000 boed, making the company the country’s main international player.

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