Algeria Oil And Gas Profile
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Probably the most exciting project in the world of Oil & Gas. The platform will be the largest ship ever built


  • Algeria is the largest natural gas producer and second largest oil producer, after Nigeria, in Africa. It became a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 1969, shortly after it began oil production in 1958.
  • In recent years, crude oil production has been stagnant, while natural gas production has gradually declined, because new production and infrastructure projects have repeatedly been delayed.


  • 1958 - Oil production began
  • 1969 - Algeria became a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
  • 2005 - The Hydrocarbon Act was passed


  • Algeria's national oil and gas company, Sonatrach, dominates the country's hydrocarbon sector, owning roughly 80 percent of all hydrocarbon production. By law, Sonatrach is given majority ownership of oil and gas projects in Algeria.
  • Algeria's oil and gas industry is governed by the Hydrocarbon Act of 2005. The initial legislation established terms that guided the involvement of international oil companies (IOCs) in upstream exploration and production, midstream transportation, and the downstream sector.
  • The original 2005 legislation was more favorable to foreign involvement than its predecessor, which was passed in 1986. However, amendments to the bill were made in 2006 that reversed some of those favorable terms. In the 2006 amendments, Algeria's national oil company, Entreprise Nationale Sonatrach (Sonatrach), was granted a minimum equity stake of 51 percent in any hydrocarbon project, and a windfall profits tax was introduced for IOCs.


Crude Oil
  • Algeria produced an estimated average of 1.25 million barrels per day (bbl/d) of crude oil in 2012, about the same as the previous year. Combined with 280,000 bbl/d of condensate and 340,000 bbl/d of NGLs, which are not included in its OPEC quota, Algerian total oil production averaged 1.87 million bbl/d in 2012.
  • Sonatrach operates the largest oil field in Algeria, Hassi Messaoud Oil Field, which produced between 350,000 to 400,000 bbl/d of crude oil in 2012, or about 30 percent of Algeria's total crude output.
  • The second and third largest oil fields, Ourhoud and the Hassi Berkine complex, are located in the Berkine basin.
  • In 2012, Ourhoud produced between 150,000 to 200,000 bbl/d of crude, and the Hassi Berkine complex produced between 100,000 to 150,000 bbl/d of crude. The three largest oil fields in Algeria combined contributed roughly half of the country's total crude oil production.
Natural Gas
  • According to OGJ, as of January 2013, Algeria had 159.1 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of proven natural gas reserves, the ninth largest natural gas reserves in the world and the second largest in Africa after Nigeria. Algeria's largest natural gas field, Hassi R'Mel, was discovered in 1956. Located in the center of the country to the northwest of Hassi Messaoud, it holds proven reserves of about 85 Tcf, more than half of Algeria's total proven natural gas reserves.
  • The remainder of Algeria's natural gas reserves come from associated fields (alongside crude oil reserves) and non-associated fields in the south and southeast regions of the country.
  • Algeria's gross natural gas production was 6.7 Tcf in 2011, of which 3.1 Tcf (47 percent) was reinjected for enhanced recovery at oil fields and wet gas fields. The remainder of gross natural gas produced is marketed (3.5 Tcf) or flared/vented (0.1 Tcf). Dry natural gas (occurring when associated liquid hydrocarbons are removed) was 2.9 Tcf in 2011, of which 1.1 Tcf was consumed locally and 1.8 Tcf was exported.

Active Companies

  • Sonatrach owns roughly 80 percent of total hydrocarbon production in Algeria, while IOCs account for the remaining 20 percent, according to data from Rystad Energy.
  • IOCs with notable stakes in oil and gas fields are: Cepsa (Spain), BP (United Kingdom), Eni (Italy), Repsol (Spain), Total (France), Statoil (Norway), and Anadarko (United States). Sonatrach's substantial assets in Algeria make it the largest oil and gas company not only in the country, but also in Africa.

Crude Oils

  • Algerian oil fields produce high-quality light crude oil with very low sulfur and mineral content.
  • Algeria exports various grades of mostly light crude, the main grade being the Sahara blend, which is a blend of crudes produced at fields in the Hassi Messaoud region.


  • Domestic pipelines
  • Algeria's domestic natural gas pipeline system transports natural gas from the Hassi R'Mel fields and processing facilities, owned by Sonatrach, to export terminals and liquefaction plants along the Mediterranean Sea. There are three main domestic pipeline systems: Hassi R'Mel to Arzew, Hassi R'Mel to Skikda, and Alrar to Hassi R'Mel. The Hassi R'Mel to Arzew system is a collection of pipelines that move natural gas from Hassi R'Mel to the export terminal and LNG plant at Arzew. The system also includes an LPG pipeline. The Hassi R'Mel to Skikda system transports natural gas from the Hassi R'Mel fields to the Skikda LNG plant, and the Alrar to Hassi R'Mel system transports natural gas produced in the Alrar and southeast region to Hassi R'Mel processing facilities. Sonatrach plans to build the GR5 Southwest fields to Hassi R'Mel pipeline to monetize natural gas reserves in fields discovered in southwest Algeria. The expected completion date is 2016.
  • For further information, see Algeria Gas Pipeline Network
  • Transcontinental pipelines
  • Algeria has three transcontinental export gas pipelines; two transport natural gas to Spain and one to Italy. The largest pipeline, Pipeline Enrico Mattei (GEM), came on line in 1983 and runs 1,023 miles from Algeria to Italy via Tunisia. According to Sonatrach, its capacity is 1.2 Tcf/y and it is jointly owned by Sonatrach, the Tunisian government, and Eni. The Pedro Duran Farell (GPDF) pipeline started in 1996 and travels 324 miles to Spain via Morocco. GPDF's capacity is about 414 Bcf/y.
  • The newest pipeline, MEDGAZ, came on line in 2011 and is owned by Sonatrach, Cepsa, Endesa, Iberdrola, and GDF Suez. It stretches 125 miles onshore and offshore, from Algeria to Spain via the Mediterranean Sea.


  • Algeria became the world's first LNG producer in 1964 when the Arzew LNG plant came on line. Algeria now has three LNG complexes, two in Arzew and one in Skikda, according to Sonatrach. Sonatrach just completed the construction of a new LNG train at Skikda. The 4.5-million tons per annum (Mmtpa) train replaced the units that were destroyed in a fire in 2004.
  • Sonatrach is building another LNG train at Arzew, with a planned capacity of 4.7 Mmtpa, to process natural gas output from the upcoming Gassi Touil project. The LNG project has suffered delays attributed to cost overruns and is expected to come on line in 2014 or 2015.


  • Algeria has five crude oil refineries and one condensate refinery with a total nameplate capacity of 562,000 bbl/d.
  • The country's largest refinery, Skikda, is located along Algeria's northern coastline and is the largest refinery in Africa. It has the capacity to process 300,000 bbl/d of crude oil and accounts for more than half of Algeria's total refinery capacity. Skikda processes the Saharan blend, which derives from the Hassi Messaoud oil fields.
  • Algeria's two other coastal refineries, Arzew and Algiers, each have the capacity to process 60,000 bbl/d of crude oil.
  • The country's inland refineries, Hassi Messaoud and Adrar, are connected to local oil fields and supply oil products to nearby areas.
Refinery Capacity Type Owner
Skikda 352.7 Crude Oil/Condensate Sonatrach/Naftec
Hassi Messaoud 163.5 Crude Oil Sonatrach/Naftec
Algiers (El Harrach) 63.4 Crude Oil Sonatrach/Naftec
Arzew 58.5 Crude Oil Sonatrach/Naftec
Adrar 14.4 Crude Oil CNPC/Sonatrach
Total 652.5 - -

Relevant Links

  1. EIA, Algeria
  2. Sonatrach

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