07 June 2012, Sweetcrude, ALGIERS – Algeria is to offer its offshore oil block to potential investors for exploration for the first time within the next two years, Minister of Energy and Mining of Algeria, Youcef Yousfi, has said.
Yousfi told journalists at the World Gas Conference in Kuala Lumpur:”We are opening new regions in the south-western and northern parts of the country to exploration [in line with] our policy to intensify exploration in new and mature basins.”
Algeria plans to open up its offshore areas for the first time for exploration and expects the first offshore wells to be drilled within the next two years, according to Yousfi.
An offshore exploration licensing round will be called after the proposed amendments to the Petroleum Law have been approved.
Algeria is conducting a pilot study to determine the feasibility of a commercial development of its vast unconventional hydrocarbon deposits, the minister said.
Preliminary estimates show the country, an OPEC member, is home to some 8000 trillion cubic feet of shale gas and 1000 trillion cubic feet of tight gas resources in place.
The drive towards opening up more basins for exploration comes on the heels of an expected surge in domestic gas demand and increase in liquefaction capacity for export markets in Algeria.
Domestic gas demand is expected to as much as double within the next two years along with increasing needs for power generation, residential and industrial use.
“We are generating over 95% of our electricity from natural gas and demand for power is increasing by at least 7% to 10%,” Yousfi told reporters.
Natural gas will be introduced to more households, with the aim of raising the penetration rate of 70% from the present 50% before 2020.
Meanwhile, Algeria expects to more than double its capacity to export 90 billion cubic metres per annum of liquefied natural gas with two new plants coming into operations by 2014.