The Algerian government has altered its foreign investment laws in hydrocarbons to capitalise on its status as the third-largest oil producer in Africa.
Despite this status, and it being the largest natural gas producer in Africa, production of both oil and natural gas has declined over the past 10 years. Civil unrest and some resistance to the government’s stance of commercialising shale resources are presenting barriers to foreign investment.
In a bid to halt these declines, amendments were made to legislation to attract investment and technology improvements, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
In 2014, the national oil and gas company Sonatrach offered 33 blocks located in four sedimentary basins with high shale gas and oil potential. The auction resulted in Sonatrach signing five contracts with Repsol, Shell, Statoil, and Dragon Oil-Enel.
Algeria has large proven crude oil and natural gas reserves as well as having a large shipping fleet that sends LNG from several liquefaction plans to customers in Europe and beyond.
The EIA says that proved crude oil reserves totalled 12.2 billion barrels in 2014, with an additional 9.8 billion barrels of undiscovered oil and natural gas liquids resources, as estimated by the US Geological Survey.
There is close to 6 billion barrels of technically recoverable shale oil resources as estimated by the EIA and the Advanced Resources International.
Earlier in 2015, Sonatrach announced plans to spend around 70% of its total investment program from 2015 to 2018 in upstream activities to reverse the decline in crude oil and natural gas production in the country.