Algeria’s state-owned energy company Sonatrach is expected to tender the Hassi R’mel oil and gas field debottlenecking project in the first quarter of 2015, according to a source close to the project.

“The design work for the project is in its final stages and Sonatrach wants to see this tendered as soon as possible,” the source said.

“We’re expecting the tender to be issued in the first quarter of 2016.”

Hassi R’Mel is Algeria’s biggest oil and gas field and the debottlenecking project is estimated to be worth $500m.

The project’s scope includes pipeline works as well as facilities for compression and injection.

UK-based Amec Foster Wheeler announced that it had been awarded a design and consultancy contract for the project on 12 August.

Algeria is currently looking to reverse falling gas and oil production.

In July 2014 the country announced plans to invest $100bn in the country’s energy sector before 2020.

The North African country has struggled to increase interest from international oil companies due to security problems and restrictive legislation.

Only four oil and gas blocks were awarded, out of a possible 31, in its most recent licensing round, held in September 2014.