As with oil, Algeria is a significant natural gas producer. It is estimated that Algeria’s reserves are the tenth largest in the world. Read our guide for more facts and information…
As of January 2010 and according to the Oil and Gas Journal, Algeria had 159 trillion cubic feet of proven gas reserves. While this amount places Algeria tenth in the world in reserves, it places Algeria second in Africa.
Algeria’s largest gas field is Hassi R’Mel which was discovered in 1956. It holds proven reserves of about 85 trillion cubic feet and accounts for about half of Algeria’s dry natural gas production. The remainder comes from various fields in the south and southeast region of the country.
In 2008, Algeria produced roughly 3 Trillion cubic feet of dry natural gas. Of this, .93 Trillion cubic feet were used domestically. The Algerian government has encouraged the use of natural gas for electricity generation.
The state owned company Sonatrach dominates natural gas and wholesale distribution in Algeria. Another state owned company Songalez controls the retail distribution. Although foreign investment in natural gas projects is encouraged, Sonatrach retains a 51% ownership in each project.
Algeria has plans to expand its Southwest Gas Project. This includes the Repsol- led, Reggane Nord and Rimimoun projects. Gas from the latter two projects is expected to start flowing by 2013 and be connected by pipelines to Hassi R’Mel.
Algeria has a domestic pipeline system for natural gas of over 4,000 miles which centers on the Hassi R’Mel natural gas field. This field is owned by Sonatrach. The largest pipeline systems connect Hassi R’Mel to export pipelines to Europe. Hassi R’Mel is also connected to liquefied natural gas export terminals along the Mediterranean Sea. Hassi R’Mel is the center of the country’s gas transport network, so pipelines connect it to all of Algeria’s gas producing regions.
Algeria’s natural gas exports totalled 2.12 trillion cubic feet in 2008. This figure is down somewhat from 2006 in which 2.17 trillion cubic feet were exported. About two thirds of that amount moves through two pipeline connections that connect Algeria and Europe. The other third is exported in the form of liquefied natural gas. Algeria is the fourth largest supplier of natural gas to the European Union. It ranks behind Russia, Norway and the Netherlands.
Liquefied Natural Gas
Liquefied natural gas makes up about one third of the total exports of Algeria’s natural gas exports. Most of Algeria’s liquefied natural gas exports go to Europe. In 2008, Algeria was the sixth leading exporter of liquefied natural gas. Primary customers are France, Spain, Turkey and Italy.
The National Shipping Company which is a subsidiary of Sonatrach operates 28 liquefied natural gas, crude and product tankers. There are plans for 10 more vessels to be added between 2011 and 2013.