The Italian energy group Eni announced on September 7 that it would acquire BP’s activities in Algeria, including the gas fields located south of the Sahara, In Salah and In Amenas, in which the British oil and gas major holds stakes of respectively 33, 15% and 45.89%. The two fields are operated in joint venture by BP, the national company Sonatrach and the Norwegian Equinor.
Production began in 2004 and 2006. In 2021, approximately 11 billion m³ of gas, 12 million barrels of condensates and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) have been produced by these gas fields.
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“BP has worked successfully with Algeria and our partners for nearly three decades, developing and supporting operations on two major gas projects for the country. We believe that this agreement represents a good result for BP, Eni and for Algeria,” said Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath, executive vice president of BP, in a press release, without giving further details on the agreement.
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For Eni, present in Algeria since 1981, this operation increases its portfolio of assets in the country, a decisive step in a context of war in Ukraine which has seriously weakened Italy, dependent on Russian gas. At the end of February, the Algerian public hydrocarbon giant Sonatrach declared itself ready to supply more gas to Europe, notably by transporting it via the Transmed gas pipeline which links Algeria to Italy.
Sonatrach “has unused capacity on the Transmed gas pipeline” which could be used to “increase supplies to the European market”, assured its CEO, Toufik Hakkar. Since then, under the political impetus of the Algerian President, Abdelmadjid tebboune, and the Italian Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, Eni and Sonatrach are working to boost the volumes of Algerian gas exported via the transcontinental gas pipeline Enrico Mattei (Transmed), with gas discoveries in particular in recent months. In July, the two majors announced a new oil and gas discovery in the Sif Fatima concession, located in the northern Berkine basin, capable of producing 1,300 barrels of oil per day.
Algeria: Sonatrach is on the right track
The same month, Sonatrach announced the signing of a production sharing contract on the exploitation of gas and oil fields in the Berkine basin with the Italian majors Eni, American Occidental and French TotalEnergies. The Algerian president underlined the day before, during a summit with the Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, that this contract worth 4 billion dollars “will make it possible to supply Italy with significant quantities of gas”. Thus, with nearly 4 billion cubic meters of additional gas per year, from the end of this year, Algeria will become Italy’s main supplier, supplying a total of nearly 27 billion meters cubes.