Algeria, the OPEC member country and 16th largest oil producing country in the world, has just recently announced that its state energy company Sonatrach plans to increase investment in the natural gas and petrochemical sectors to $80 billion over the next five years.
The $80 billion investment is $12 billion more than initially planned, but will help the African nation expand its gas resource base and increase its petrochemical refining capacity.
Abdelhamid Zerguine, CEO of Sonatrach, said that, “the increase in the investment is mainly focused on the upstream sector to increase refinery capacity and the petrochemical base.”
The extra gas resources will help Algeria to develop its hug shale gas reserves. A preliminary assessment estimated the recoverable reserves to be around 600 trillion cubic feet; being able to tap into this would greatly benefit the nation’s economy and also be good news for Europe, who buys a large portion of its natural gas imports from Algeria.
The petrochemical refinery will help reduce Algeria’s demand for imported refined goods. Even though they currently produce around 1.2 million barrels of oil per day they must still import vast amounts of petrol and gasoil each year to cover the growing domestic demand due to the fact they cannot personally refine their own oil. In 2011 Sonatrach bought 1.3 million barrels of fuel.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com