Development drilling at Algeria’s Ain Tsila gas and condensate field is due to start in early 2016 and will be followed by the awarding of engineering, procurement and construction contracts, according to the Italian energy company Enel.

Speaking at a conference in Algiers the general director of Enel Trade Algeria said the field would be brought on stream in the “near future”.

Enel has an 18.375 per cent stake in the asset, with Ireland-based Petroceltic holding 38.25 per cent and state-owned Sonatrach holding a 43.375 per cent stake.

Petroceltic reissued tender documents for the project earlier this month, but it remains uncertain when prequalified contractors will be required to submit bids.

Four bidders have prequalified for the contract:

According to the front-end engineering and design (feed) work carried out by the US’ Chicago Bridge & Iron (CBI), the surface facilities will process up to 420 million cubic feet a day (cf/d) of wet gas.

The facilities will also transport the streams of dry gas, LPG and condensate to existing tie-in points in the Algerian national pipeline grid.

The Ain Tsila gas field is located in the Illizi basin, within the Isarene permit in Blocks 228 and 229a.

Enel acquired its stake in the asset from Petrocetlic in 2011. A gas sale agreement was signed with Sonatrach in 2014 and the design work was started in October 2014.

The license’s total acreage is 3,050 kilometres.