Algeria’s energy ministry has awarded Statoil ASA and Royal Dutch Shell PLC the 2,730-sq-km Timissit permit license in the Illizi-Ghadames basin in the southeast part of the country. The award is part of Algeria’s Fourth International Bid Round launched in January.
Statoil describes the license as “a potentially large-shale resource play.” The company will serve as operator with 30% interest, Shell will hold 19%, and Algerian state-owned Sonatrach will hold 51%.
“Statoil is entering this shale play to test the prospectivity and commerciality through a step-wise approach,” said Nick Maden, Statoil senior vice-president for exploration activities in the Western Hemisphere. “The first exploration phase is expected to last up to 2017 and include the drilling of two wells and seismic acquisition.”
Statoil’s presence in Algeria includes the In Amenas gas production facility that was attacked by Islamic militants in early 2013 (OGJ Online, Jan. 16, 2013). Operations from the facility resumed earlier this month following the implementation of new security measures (OGJ Online, Sept. 2, 2014).
Statoil says the process by which it identified and implemented those measures has provided the company “valuable knowledge” that “will be applied in future activities.”