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Algeria’s Al-Qaeda Struck Gas Plant to Go Back Online

The Tiguentourine gas plant in Algeria will soon resume full service more than three years after being the target of a deadly attack by al-Qaeda, according to Reuters on Saturday.

"Full production is for the coming days, all tests have been passed successfully," plant General Manager Kamel Aoues told the news service during a press visit to the site located in the southeastern part of the country. The return to full production would coincide with a ceremony at Tiguentourine on 1 August attended by Energy Minister Nouredine Bouterfa and Algerian state-owned Sonatrach Chief Executive Amine Mazouzi, according to an unidentified source.

Current production at Tiguentourine operated by BP, Norway’s Statoil, and Algerian state-owned Sonatrach sits at around 16 million cubic meters per day. Yet the facility’s managers claimed output will reach 24 million to 25 million cubic meters once the third and final section of the plant come online.

Aoues added that an estimated US$90 million was spent on repairs to the plant.

Forty Tiguentourine workers, most of them foreigners, were killed in a January 2013 al-Qaeda attack against the plant. The militants held at least 800 employees hostage during a four-day standoff, which ended with an Algerian military assault against the kidnappers.

Some 20 percent of the plant’s current workforce of 500 employees are foreigners. Security has been reinforced with a heavy military presence.

Prior to the 2013 attack, Tiguentourine supplied an estimated 10 percent of gas output for one of the top suppliers of the commodity to Europe. The full reactivation of the plant will be a boost for an Algeria state seeking to boost gas production and offset the fall in oil prices.

By Erwin Cifuentes for Oilprice.com

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