‘Opportunity aligns with Statoil’s exploration strategy of early access at scale and deepening core positions’.
By Mohammed Jetutu, North Africa correspondent
Algeria has opened the way for detailed technical investigation of its shale gas resources, estimated at 707 Trillion Cubic Feet (Tcf) by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The country awarded Statoil, the Norwegian operator and its partner Shell have the Timissit Permit Licence in the Illizi-Ghadames Basin onshore Algeria in a bid round that kicked off in January 2014.
“The award represents an opportunity to test a potentially large shale resource play”, Statoil says in a release. “The opportunity is aligned with Statoil’s exploration strategy of early access at scale and deepening core positions”.
The 2,730km2 Timissit Permit is located in southeastern Algeria. Statoil bid in partnership with Shell, where Statoil will be the operator with 30% equity, Shell will hold 19% equity and the remaining 51% will be held by the state hydrocarbon Sonatrach.
The company says the new licence represents an opportunity to build on the existing country position by adding acreage with material exploration potential. The large shale potential in Algeria may become an increasingly important component of the country’s gas exports to Europe in the future.
“Statoil is entering this shale play to test the prospectivity and commerciality through a step-wise approach. The first exploration phase is expected to last up to 2017 and include the drilling of two wells and seismic acquisition,” says Nick Maden, senior vice president for Statoil’s exploration activities in the Western Hemisphere.
The award is part of the Algerian Ministry of Energy and Mines, National Agency for Hydrocarbon Resources Valorisation’s (ALNAFT) Fourth International Bid Round, which was launched in January 2014.
Statoil is already present in Algeria and announced in September 2014 with its joint venture partners a decision to resume ordinary operations at the In Amenas plant, following the In Amenas attack.
The decision to re-enter was the result of a thorough and stepwise process to identify the necessary security measures, implementing them and validating that they are in place and operational. Through this process Statoil has gained valuable knowledge which will be applied in future activities.