President of the Republic Abdelaziz Bouteflika on Wednesday gave instruction to the government to ensure environment protection while exploring and exploiting shale gas. "President Abdelaziz Bouteflika gave instructions to the government to make sure that prospection and exploitation of shale hydrocarbons be carried out with a permanent concern of preserving water resources and protecting environment," the Council of Ministers' statement said. Met Wednesday under the chairmanship of the head of State, the Council of Ministers heard and approved a report by the minister of Energy, through which he asked for an agreement to the exploitation of clay and shale formations. The 2013 Law on Hydrocarbons requires the approval of the Council of Ministers for the exploration and exploitation of shale hydrocarbons. The Council of Ministers gave its approval for the launch of the required procedures to involve foreign partners in the field. "The draft agreements to start prospections will be submitted to the Council of Ministers' approval," the source underlined. According to the communiqué, the first available indications show that Algeria has "appreciable" potential in shale gas and oil, as well as "promising" prospects in terms of recoverable quantities. Algeria ranks third worldwide, right after China and Argentina, in recoverable shale gas reserves, according to a report by the US Department of Energy (DoE) on non-conventional hydrocarbon reserves. According to the DoE, the reserves are estimated at 19,800 billion m3, located mainly in the basins of Mouydir, Ahnet, Berkine-Ghadames, Timimoun, Reggane and Tindouf.