Algeria Awards 4 Out Of 31 Oil, Gas Blocks On Offer
ALGIERS, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Algeria awarded four of 31 oil and gas field blocks on offer to foreign consortiums on Tuesday in its first attempt since a disappointing 2011 bid to draw investors to help offset its stagnate production.
Spain's Repsol in partnership with Royal Dutch Shell won the Boughezoul area in the north of the country, while Shell and Norway's Statoil won the Timissit area in the east. A consortium of Enel and Dragon Oil won the Tinrhert and Msari Akabli areas.
Algerian energy officials described the result as acceptable, but analysts said the North African OPEC member needed to do more to improve conditions and draw more foreign oil operators to the energy sector.
Algeria supplies a fifth of Europe's gas needs, but it relies on mature fields for most of its energy output and looks to foreign explorers to help develop new reserves and increase flagging production.
"These are acceptable results, and we will continue with our energy sector development," said Sid Ali Betata, head hydrocarbons agency ALNAFT which oversaw the bidding. "This is a consolidation of our partnership."
Foreign oil executives have in the past complained about Algeria's tough contract terms, often difficult business environment and security worries, especially after a 2013 attack on the Amenas gas plant killed 39 foreign contractors.
Officials were optimistic before the bids, having delayed the auction twice after foreign players asked for more time to study the fields. They reported initial interest from 50 companies and cited incentives under a new oil law, improvements in security and the potential of the fields on offer.
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