The national hydrocarbon group SONATRACH intends to start the exploitation of the large shale gas fields in Algeria as from 2020, with a production capacity of 30 billion cubic metres in the first stage, a source from the oil group told APS Saturday.
"The tests carried out showed that the outputs are comparable to those obtained in the US shale gas fields producing commercial quantities," the source said.
These results are "very encouraging" and allow the oil group to consider moving rapidly to the pilot stage before starting effective production as from 2020, the source added.
The group's CEO, Abdelhamid Zerguine announced this decision at the international conference on the security of natural gas supply in the Mediterranean, held in Valleta (Malta) in early July.
SONATRACH also announced during this conference that it will start the exploitation of these fields with a production capacity of about 30 billion cubic metres per year, i.e. the equivalent of the current national consumption, the source said citing the group's CEO.
Algeria is third globally in technically recoverable shale gas reserves, with 700 trillion cubic feet (TCF), according the International Energy Agency (IEA).
It has seven shale gas basins, according the survey conducted by the US Department of Energy (DoE) in collaboration with the US firm Advanced Researches International.
To better assess the unconventional hydrocarbon potential, SONATRACH signed cooperation agreements with leading oil groups, including ENI, Anadarko, Talisman and Shell.