Eni and Algerian state oil company Sonatrach signed an agreement giving Eni a 49% stake in three onshore concessions in the North Berkine basin: Sif Fatima II, Zemlet El Arbi and Ourhoud II. Sonatrach will hold the remaining 51% stake in the concessions.
Sonatrach and Eni will carry out exploration of the three blocks, which cover 8500sq km and hold an estimated 145mn barrels of oil equivalent. Production is expected to start by the end of 2020.
"With Sonatrach, we will work together to position North Berkine basin as a gas hub," Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi said. "The country still has a lot of gas and Eni will leverage its technology and skills to develop it”.
Eni already has operations in the basin, with all of its in-country production assets located in North Berkine, including Bir Rebaa North, which started production in 1995. Existing facilities and infrastructure in the area as well as ongoing developments like a 180km-long gas pipeline which is being fast-tracked, are expected to help the development.
In parallel, Eni and Total signed an agreement with Sonatrach to partner for offshore exploration.
“Together with Sonatrach and Total, we will have the opportunity to explore the deep waters of the Algerian offshore, a virtually unexplored geological province where Eni will be able to contribute by leveraging its experience in the Eastern Mediterranean and its inventory of advanced exploration technologies,” Descalzi said.