Sonatrach and Gazprom have launched a plan for a new gas development in Algeria’s Berkine Basin.
The Russian and Algerian companies have announced the start of development and construction. The El Assel project should reach first gas in 2025.
The plan covers the drilling of 24 new wells and construction of a gas-processing train. The project will covers gas, condensate and LPG.
El Assel’s production will be exported via Sonatrach’s existing pipeline network.
Sonatrach has a 51% stake in El Assel, while Gazprom EP International has the remaining 49%.
The project will involve the development of the Rhourde Sayeh and Rhourde Sayeh North fields. The licence is 250 km southeast of Hassi Messaoud.
Gazprom signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Sonatrach in 2006 and the contract on El Assel in 2008. The licence covers three blocks, 236b, 404a and 405b.
The Russian company carried out exploration on the area in three phases, from 2009 to 2016. It should 200 km of 2D seismic, 3,098 square km of 3D seismic and drilled nine exploration and appraisal wells.
Picking and choosing
Gazprom’s work discovered four fields. It found Rhourde Sayeh in 2010 and Rhourde Sayeh North in 2014.
The licence also covers a previously discovered oilfield, Zemle Er-Rekkeb. Gazprom also discovered the Zemle Er-Rekkeb North reservoir.
Initially, Gazprom had been considering development plans for all four fields. The company did not disclose why it had opted not to go ahead with Zemle Er-Rekkeb and Zemle Er-Rekkeb North.
Gazprom EP International managing director Sergey Tumanov visited Algeria in September 2021 and held talks with Algerian Minister of Energy and Mines Mohamed Arkab. The two talked about El Assel and the new hydrocarbon law.
Tumanov said the developing the Rhourde Sayah and Rhourde Sayah Nord fields could “further streamline the mechanisms for effective management of joint projects and serve as a basis for expanding the company’s presence in Algeria. In addition, this may be an incentive for other Russian players to come to Algeria.”
Arkab, speaking in September, expressed interest in developing gas processing, oil refining and petrochemicals domestically.