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Algeria Revises Timetable for Amenas Gas Plant to Resume

Source: Reuters 2/24/2014, Location: Africa

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Algeria's In Amenas gas plant will be producing at full capacity in months, a government newspaper reported the energy minister as saying, pushing back the expected schedule for a comeback from a violent assault early last year.

In Amenas had produced 11.5 percent of Algeria's natural gas before the Islamist militant attack, in which nearly 40 foreign contractors were killed. The minister and other energy officials last month said the plant would be operating at full capacity within weeks.

"It is expected that the third train will be onstream in a few months," Energy and Mines Minister Youcef Yousfi told government newspaper El Moudjahid in a publication on Monday, without giving any further details of the revised schedule.

Ali Hached, a senior adviser to Yousfi, said last month the facility, made up of three units, was producing 20 million cubic metres per day, around two thirds of its full capacity of 30 million cubic metres.

The plant is operated jointly by BP, Norway's Statoil and Algeria's state-owned Sonatrach.

Militants took expatriates hostage in the January 2013 crisis, which ended when Algerian forces stormed the plant. Forty oil workers, all but one foreign, died in the violence.

BP and Statoil since have withdrawn their staff from the site, demanding better security measures. Algerian officials say they have met all the demands of foreign companies, but contractors have yet to return to the plant.

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