Sonatrach Makes Find in Berkine Basin

Algeria's state-run oil and gas company Sonatrach said it had discovered new reserves of oil, gas and condensates in the well West El Merk Nord-1 in block 405a located in the Berkine basin of the Sahara Desert. This is the fifth discovery made this year by Sonatrach.

Sonatrach said the area could produce 444,000 cubic meters of gas, 800 barrels of oil and 500 barrels of condensate per day.

"This confirms the important hydrocarbon potential of this part of the Berkine basin, which will continue to be thoroughly explored and delineated during 2006," the company said in a statement. Sonatrach expects this year to drill 90 wells at a total cost of 1.2 billion dollars, the statement said. It plans to contribute 700 million dollars towards the scheme, with foreign partners expected to provide the rest.