Algeria’s National Agency for the Valorisation of Hydrocarbon Resources (Alnaft) has extended to 17 March the submission deadline for the third licensing round for the exploration and development of hydrocarbon reserves.

The deadline for the award of the licences remains 31 March.

A total of 10 contract areas are to be licensed, spread across the Oued-Mya,Illizi, Sbâa, Berkine, and Tell basins.

UK-based BP and Ireland’s Petroceltic have previously reported commercial discoveries in the Illizi basin, which is situated on Algeria’s border with Libya. Three of the contract areas are located in the basin (MEED:18:06:09).

Algeria is estimated to harbour 35 billion barrel of oil equivalent of proven hydrocarbon reserves, according to Wood MacKenzie.  The country accounts for about 1 per cent of proven oil reserves, 2 per cent of global oil production. It also contains 2.3 per cent of global gas reserves and 2.7 per cent of global gas production.

While Algeria has experienced some popular unrest, which has resulted in some deaths, it is less likely to follow down the path of political upheaval as its neighbours Libya and Egypt, and its oil and gas production has so far not been impacted.

Observers expect the industry to be robust in the face of potential strife, pointing out that production continued throughout the civil war that ravaged the country in the 1990s.