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ExxonMobil and Chevron could gain access to Algeria’s vast natural gas resources as the U.S. supermajors are in advanced talks for exploration and production deals in the North African country, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, quoting sources with knowledge of the talks and Algerian Energy Minister Mohamed Arkab.
Algeria holds huge conventional natural gas reserves, and it is also estimated to have the third–largest shale gas reserves in the world after China and Argentina.
ExxonMobil and Chevron could complete the talks on the deals with Algerian state-held oil and gas firm Sonatrach by the end of this year, the sources told the Journal.
“I am pushing Sonatrach,” Arkab told the WSJ, “because we need to increase our volumes.”
Sonatrach is discussing the terms of agreements with Exxon and Chevron which would include both conventional and shale gas reserves exploration.
Earlier this year, the Journal reported that Chevron had increased efforts to reach an energy exploration agreement with Algeria and was assessing the North African country’s estimated huge shale gas resources.
Most of Algeria’s gas exports are heading to Europe, which is increasingly betting on Africa to import large volumes of pipeline gas and LNG to replace pipeline gas supply from Russia, which was Europe’s top gas supplier before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Italy’s energy major, Eni, has been particularly active in securing more natural gas supply for Europe from Africa and has fast-tracked projects in Africa to meet Europe’s gas demand in the absence of Russian pipeline deliveries.
At the announcement of the 2022 results in February, Descalzi said, “During the year, we were able to finalize agreements and activities to fully replace Russian gas by 2025, leveraging our strong relationships with producing states and fast-track development approach to ramp-up volumes from Algeria, Egypt, Mozambique, Congo and Qatar.”
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com