Sonatrach and Thailand’s PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP) have produced the first crude from the Hassi Bir Rekaiz licence in Algeria.
The area is in the eastern Berkine Basin. Sonatrach said production began at 00:15 on June 1.
In the first phase, the plan is to produce from two discoveries, Bou Goufa and Rhourde Ez Zita. This will involve 17 wells connected to existing treatment facilities in Rhourde El Baguel.
Sonatrach said output would reach 13,000 barrels per day in the first phase. The second phase will add eight other discoveries in the licence, with production reaching 60,000 bpd.
PTTEP had said it expected first phase production at the Hassi Bir Rekaiz permit to start in the fourth quarter of 2021.
PTTEP signed the contract on the area in January 2010. Initially it had a 24.5% stake, matched by CNOOC Ltd, while Sonatrach had 51%. The Thai company bought out its Chinese partner in the third quarter of 2021.
The companies launched a drilling programme on the permit in 2011, which ran until 2016. Of 11 wells it drilled, they discovered oil and gas at 10.
The last well, the Bou Goufa-2, flowed at 2,406 barrels per day of oil and 2.9 million cubic feet per day of gas.
The company submitted a field development plan in 2018 to Alnaft and began development work in March 2019.
At that time, PTTEP said it expected to increase production to 50,000-60,000 bpd by 2025. This would require the construction of a central processing facility (CPF) and the drilling of another 139 production wells.
The licence covers 1,916 square km.
PTTEP also produces oil from the Bir Seba field, in 433a and 416b, which started up in 2015. Bir Seba production peaked at 20,000 bpd and is now around 16,000 bpd. The company works with Petrovietnam on Bir Seba, with development drilling under way.
Italy’s Tecnimont won work on the Bir Seba phase two and Mouiat Outlad Messaoud field development in June 2020. The $400 million contract involved expanding an existing CPF, doubling capacity to 40,000 bpd, in addition to more than 400 km of pipelines.