BP Awarded Three Algerian Exploration Blocks

BP has been awarded three blocks in Algeria's sixth international licensing round. Two of the blocks, South East Illizi and Bourarhat, are located in the Illizi basin close to the In Amenas project that BP is currently developing. The third block at Hassi Matmat in the Benoud basin lies some 160 kilometers northeast of the giant Hassi R'Mel gas condensate field.

The awards were made today after a public opening of bids as part of the sixth exploration license round in Algeria.

An exploration program consisting of seismic and wells will be conducted on each of the blocks.

Ian Smale, President of BP North Africa, said: "We are very pleased to have been awarded these new licenses. We have a long and successful history of working with Sonatrach in Algeria, and are delighted to have this opportunity to further grow our business."

The Contracts are subject to formal approval by the Algerian authorities.

BP is currently involved in two major gas projects in Algeria, in partnership with Sonatrach and Statoil. The In Salah project came on stream in July 2004, and the In Amenas project is due onstream in late 2005/ early 2006. Each are set to produce some 9 billion cubic meters a year of gas and associated liquids. BP and Sonatrach also operate the Rhourde el Baguel oilfield.