Official: Algeria To Hold Oil And Gas Auction Within Weeks


ALGIERS, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Algeria is preparing a new auction of oil and gas blocks, an official said on Wednesday, after the North African country awarded just four of 31 fields last month in the first attempt to lure foreign investors since 2011.

Algerian officials described last month's result as acceptable but analysts said the OPEC member needed to do more to improve conditions and attract more foreign oil operators.

"We are preparing a new bidding round. It will be launched within weeks," Sid Ali Beta, head of hydrocarbons agency ALNAFT which oversaw the bidding, told reporters at the signing of contracts with the winners of the Sept. 30 auction.

He gave no details.

One of the winners, Italy's Enel, plans to invest $700 million at its four oil and gas blocks in Algeria in the next five to six years, Marco Arcelli, the company's executive vice president for upstream gas, said at the signing ceremony.

The Italian utility's consortium with Dragon Oil won two new blocks, adding to two existing ones.

Beta said the first phase of operations at the four blocks will include drilling around 11 wells at an estimated cost of $150 million.


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