Sonatrach-ExxonMobil Gas Deal to Open New Play in the Ahnet-Gourara Basin

The deal signifies a pivotal step in Algeria’s hydrocarbon development, marking a strategic partnership aimed at tapping into the nation’s gas reserves

Algeria’s state oil company Sonatrach and energy major ExxonMobil have signed a deal to develop two major gas fields in southern Algeria’s Ahnet and Gourara basins. The agreement, signed by Sonatrach’s Chief Executive Rachid Hachichi and ExxonMobil’s Head of Exploration John Ardill represents a milestone in Algeria’s energy sector, highlighting substantial progress and newfound opportunities for investment. Both parties will prioritize technological advancements alongside the adoption of best sustainability practices and environmental protection measures.

As the voice of the African energy sector, the African Energy Chamber (AEC) strongly supports this agreement and its role in fostering collaboration between international oil companies (IOC) and African nations. Such partnerships are vital for unlocking Africa’s vast energy potential – a focus of the upcoming African Energy Week (AEW): Invest in African Energy in Cape Town from November 4-8.

AEW: Invest in African Energy is the platform of choice for project operators, financiers, technology providers and government, and has emerged as the official place to sign deals in African energy. Visit www.AECWeek.com for more information about this exciting event.

Algeria’s partnership with ExxonMobil signifies a pivotal moment for the country’s energy landscape

Algeria, a key gas exporter to Europe, is strategically positioning itself as a player in the global energy market through the facilitation of collaborations with IOCs. The anticipated synergy with ExxonMobil is set to bolster Algeria’s capability to address escalating energy needs. In 2022, Algeria led Africa in natural gas production, reaching a record 132.7 billion cubic meters. The country’s output continued to rise, exceeding 136 billion cubic meters in 2023, with natural gas contributing two-thirds of its total oil equivalent production. Through comprehensive exploration campaigns and targeted initiatives, the nation aims to unlock untapped reserves, fostering partnerships and driving sustainable development across its energy sector.

Algeria’s proactive engagement with IOCs and utilization of technological advancements position it to effectively leverage its abundant natural resources to meet the increasing energy demands of both domestic and international markets. These developments are encouraged by the nation’s Hydrocarbon Law, implemented in 2019, which aims to simplify fiscal terms to entice investment and accelerate exploration efforts. In addition to ExxonMobil, these measures have enticed other players to invest. Multinational energy company Chevron is showing interest in tapping into Algeria’s gas-rich Ahnet, Gourara and Berkine basins, while Indonesia’s national oil company Pertamina plans to invest over $800 million in the Menzel Lejmat Nord block. Pertamina hopes to drill 12 oil wells in Block 405a. Additionally, TotalEnergies signed an MoU with Sonatrach last month to develop gas resources in the North-East Timimoun region, focusing on cost reduction and emissions management.

Meanwhile, Algeria is set to invest $50 billion in oil and gas projects by 2027, aiming to boost production from assets like the Hassi R’Mel gas field and bring new developments online. Sonatrach has recently initiated phase two of the southwest gas project, launching three key fields – Hassi Ba Hamou, Hassi Tidjerane, and Tinerkouk.

Algeria’s strategic approach to develop its oil and gas resources will be complemented by ExxonMobil’s extensive experience and longstanding commitment to energy development in Africa. ExxonMobil has a rich history of over a century of operations in Africa, demonstrating a longstanding commitment to the region’s energy development. Since 2006, the company has pledged more than $46 billion to investments across the continent, underscoring its dedication to driving economic growth and sustainable energy solutions across the continent. The partnership between Algeria and ExxonMobil will therefore be instrumental in enhancing exploration efficiency, optimizing production processes, ensuring sustainable resource utilization practices and leveraging the company’s extensive experience and track record in managing complex energy projects across Africa.

“Algeria’s partnership with ExxonMobil signifies a pivotal moment for the country’s energy landscape. It underscores the potential for collaboration between African nations and IOCs to unlock energy resources, ultimately driving sustainable development and eliminating energy poverty across the continent,” states NJ Ayuk Executive Chairman of the AEC. “By forging such partnerships, Algeria not only secures access to advanced technologies and expertise but also positions itself as a regional gas exporter to European nations.”

This partnership signifies a crucial effort to revitalize Algeria’s energy sector, presenting opportunities for responsible and sustainable utilization of its abundant natural resources. This year’s AEW theme – Energy Growth through an Enabling Environment – perfectly aligns with Algeria’s approach to attracting investment and fostering sustainable energy practices through partnerships. This signifies Algeria’s commitment to energy sustainability, resonating with the broader objectives of the AEW: Invest in African Energy.

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