Oil field is capable of producing 100,000 barrels-per-day (bpd)
Tunis – Azhar Jarboui
Tunisia has launched an oil drilling operation near the Algerian border after it discovered an oil field capable of producing 100,000 barrels-per-day (bpd)
Economic experts see the discovery as a lifeline in Tunisia\'s bid to solve its ?energy crisis, a day after figures revealed that the petroleum sector is losing around five million dinars ($3m) every day, and a 30-year agreement for the ?transportation of gas from Algeria through to Tunisia expired.?
Based on the initial estimates, the field\'s ?productive capacity is likely to ?bring billions to Tunisia\'s foreign currency reserves, in addition to providing thousands of jobs for the ?Tunisian youth and enabling those living in impoverished border areas to benefit.?
Last week, the Administrative Reform and anti-Corruption Committee in Tunisia\'s National Constituent Assembly (NCA) confirmed that the country\'s oil sector was losing five ?million dinars every day, primarily through corruption.
The Committee also identified the state\'s failure to deal with the energy balance in Tunisia. After the January 2011 uprising, the contract between Tunisia and Algeria which allowed Tunisia to have free gas from Algeria because Algerian gas was crossing Tunisia into Italy, came to an end. There was a 36 percent decline in Tunisia\'s gas supply in the six months following the end of the contract, with experts claiming that Tunisia had underestimated Algeria\'s support.
Although the Ministry of Industry denied approving any increase in the electricity consumption tariff, it predicted an increase in demand of electricity by seven percent annually till the year 2020.?
It is believed that Algeria doesn\'t want to renew its free gas contact with Tunisia, with Algeria authorities likely to demand a financial contribution based on the number of orders it receives from Italy.
Tunisia\'s ruling Ennahda Movement has been criticised for failing to cooperate with Algeria. Political observers have accused the government of being involved in useless political debates and ignoring key national issues, such as the country\'s flailing economy which has become dependant ?on foreign grants and loans.