Business stable in Tunisia despite turmoil nearby

Business stable in Tunisia despite turmoil nearby
Tunisia is one of the few states viewed as one of the more stable countries in North Africa
Published: 25 September 2013 - 9:43 a.m.
By: Arabian Oil & Gas Staff

In the build-up to the North Africa Oil and Gas Summit, Mohamed Akrout, Chief Executive Officer, ETAP, discusses investment opportunities in Tunisia, how the state is looking to welcome new technologies that can be effectively integrated into existing projects, and forming partnerships with International Oil Companies (IOCs), in an exclusive interview with The Energy Exchange.

ETAP, the state owned Tunisian National Oil Company represents the state in all exploration, production and commercial oil and gas activities. Currently, Tunisia’s proven reserves are estimated to be approximately 838m barrels, of which 51 per cent is oil and 49 per cent is gas.

Discussing the opportunities ETAP wishes to pursue in 2013, Mr. Akrout said: “ETAP has recorded a sharp improvement in exploration activities in 2013. In 2013, 15 wells have been drilled compared to 11 in 2012, and 11 in 2011. We have also carried out large-scale seismic acquisition, which will eventually end up in an exploration and development program in the near future.

“Tunisia possesses 32 free blocs, which present great opportunities. With regards to new projects, we expect to realise our annual provisions concerning the principal gas project through: the development of the Nawara concession located in the South, and the conclusion of all supply and construction contracts. This work will commence in early 2014”.

Tunisia is one of the few states viewed as one of the more stable countries in North Africa. With the availability of a professionally mature workforce, well established basins, services for seismic and drilling, proper infrastructure in terms of roads and pipelines, as well as a stable government, the country is ready, and open, to conduct business with the international market.

Mr. Akrout confirms: “ Activities related to exploration and production have been maintained at the same pace and have as such continued in often normal conditions, without any significant or noticeable incidents. The few instances of social disorder have been surmountable by a high level government policy which encourages open dialogue and transparency in negotiations with all stakeholders.”

With regards to ETAP’s expectations from IOCs entering into partnerships with the company, Mr. Akrout explained that their expectations are centered around a relatively ambitious exploration programme that uses appropriate technology and meets international environmental standards.

Tunisia places great significance on protecting the environment - ETAP considers it very important to partner with companies that are not just energetic, engaged, and technically focused, but also those that adhere to ETAP’s CSR initiatives by ensuring social and humanitarian responsibility towards their respective environment, and within the local community. They also expect to partner with companies that meet the international standards in terms of corporate and project governance in oil and gas activity.

Mr. Akrout looks at the North Africa Oil and Gas Summit as an opportunity to learn and share the latest studies, technologies and work methods practiced in the oil and gas industry. He believes through this opportunity, challenges can be resolved, and different types of risks encountered at a national and international level can be managed.

To be held from 22 – 24 October, the North Africa Oil and Gas Summit, will focus mainly on the upstream activity in the region. Receiving support from Ministry of Energy and Mines, Morocco, for the first time in years, the eighth edition of the summit will unite regional and global experts from leading International and National Oil Companies (IOCs & NOCs) as well as government representatives across the industry in their vision to facilitate success in the region.

Additionally, with Ministry support from Tunisia, Libya and Morocco; National Oil Company (NOC) support from ETAP, NOC Libya, ONHYM, SMH and Sonatrach; and international support from Shell, Repsol, OMV, Total, RWE, BG, Schlumberger, Baker Hughes, DNV, Perenco, Winstar Resources, Petrofac, Ecumed Petroleum and the European Investment Bank amongst many others, the summit will provide a strategic platform to address the key challenges faced by the industry as well as discuss solutions that will facilitate success in the region.

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