Algeria Includes Offshore Blocks in Next Licensing Round

Chakib Khelil, Algerian Energy and Mines Mininter, said the country will be offering twelve blocks in an upcoming international licensing round and two of these blocks will be located offshore. This is the first time that Algeria has offered offshore blocks in an international bidding round.

Khelil said that a competitive two-step tender process adopted by the Algerian authorities in 2001 had allowed the time taken to award exploration contracts to be cut to six months, from two years on average in previous rounds. In addition to boosting the state's revenues, the new tender process had also allowed for a more diversified mix of exploration companies, in terms of size and geographical origin.

The approximately 30 foreign oil and gas companies now working in exploration in Algeria included "Russian, Chinese, Tunisian, Vietnamese companies etc, alongside the big American, Anglo-Saxon and European companies," Khelil said.