ALGERIA: Algeria’s gas exports should reach 54 billion cubic metres (bcm) this year, up from 51 bcm in 2016, as the new Reggane and Touat fields come on stream, the chief of state-run energy company Sonatrach said on Thursday. Sonatrach CEO Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour told reporters on a visit to Hassi Rmel gasfield that it was going to be “very hard” to meet both growing domestic demand and export needs for clients, mainly European markets. “We do have a shortage of 50 million cubic metres per day that we need to find somewhere,” he said. “We have to make deals with EU clients, but the key point remains to have the commodity available.” He said Algeria was not only focusing on Europe as a key gas client, but also looking for other clients elsewhere. Three years since oil prices collapsed and cut the North African OPEC member’s state finances, Algeria has been working on more flexible agreements with foreign companies, which have long complained about the country’s tough operating terms.
Reggane and Touat are among a group of fields in southern Algeria that are now expected to yield around 9 bcm a year of new gas output. This includes 1.6 bcm from Timimoun, where Total is involved, 4.5 bcm from the Touat field run with Engie of France and 2.9 bcm from Reggane North with Spain’s Repsol. The Isarene field with Petroceltic will come on stream later. Algiers is No. 3 gas supplier to Europe, but EU officials have been in talks about improving investment conditions to help its long-term reliability. Past stagnant output, strict terms and soaring domestic gas demand for power generation also cast doubt over future exports.