In Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) a working meeting between Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee and Abdulhameed Zarqeen, Director General of Sonatrach, Algerian state-owned company took place as part of the 25th World Gas Conference.
The meeting was focused on the Russian-Algerian cooperation in the gas sector. In addition, the parties emphasized the successful partnership between Gazprom and Sonatrach in developing the El Assel field.
The meeting participants also reviewed the opportunities for expanding the joint business in delivery of new oil and gas projects including LNG production and supplies to the global energy market.
Based on the meeting results, Alexey Miller and Abdulhameed Zarqeen expressed confidence in further fruitful cooperation between the two companies in the said businesses.
Algeria's proven natural gas reserves account for 4.5 trillion cubic meters (second-largest in Africa after Nigeria- 5.25 trillion cubic meters). The bulk of natural gas reserves are concentrated in the central and eastern parts of the country. The country's proven oil reserves stand at 1.5 billion tons (third-largest in Africa after Libya and Nigeria).
In the energy balance of Algeria natural gas makes up 62.5 per cent, oil – 34.5 per cent, coal – 2.5 per cent, hydro energy- 0.5 per cent.
Algeria's Sonatrach is the largest oil and gas company in Africa. It is engaged in exploration, transportation and marketing of oil and natural gas as well as controls most of gas production and wholesale trade.
Gazprom Group was announced the winner of the hydrocarbon exploration and development tender for the onshore El Assel area on December 13, 2008. Following the tender results, a contract was signed with the Algerian National Agency for the Valorization of Hydrocarbons Resources (ALNAFT) and Sonatrach, which came into effect on May 3, 2009.
The El Assel project is being implemented in partnership with Sonatrach. Gazprom EP International (Company's wholly owned subsidiary) is the project's operator. Gazprom's share in the project is 49 per cent; Sonatrach holds a 51 per cent stake.
In March 2010 drilling of the first prospecting well Rhourde Sayah-2 (RSH-2) was launched. In November 2010 the drilling results revealed there were oil and gas streams of commercial value. In January 2011 drilling of the second well was launched, in December 2011 and April 2012 – the third and the fourth wells, accordingly.
The El Assel licensed area is located in the Berkine Basin, 500 kilometers south of Algeria's capital city Algiers and 150 kilometers away from the oil production center – town of Hassi Messaoud.