Algerian Tender Sparks Interest

An Algerian tender for the development of five key oil and gas projects has attracted the interest of 14 international firms, including oil majors such as BP Amoco and TotalElfFina. The tender includes oilfields for development in Zarzaitine and El Abed Larache, an oil and gas project in Illizi, and the big Tinhert and Rhourde Nouss gas fields, all located in the promising southeastern Illizi basin.

An Energy and Mines Ministry senior official said BP Amoco, TotalFinaElf, Gaz De France, Spain's Repsol, Petronas of Malaysia, Petro-Canada and Australia's BHP Billiton had all submitted technical offers this month. Other bidders are Amerada Hess and Marathon, Lukoil, Wintershall, Tullow Oil and Sinopec and CNODC.

The ministry has set a March 31, 2002 deadline for commercial offers and contract awards. Five groups of experts from Sonatrach will study the proposals for the five projects and hold meetings with the bidders if necessary.

These are the first projects to involve development of high hydrocarbon potential fields currently operated by Sonatrach. Until now, bidding had been exclusively for exploration blocks. The main goal is to improve the recovery rate in the Zarzaitine field, where Sonatrach is already pumping 30,000 barrels of crude a day, and the development of existing oil and gas reserves, the official said.