The Energy & Mines Ministry and state energy company Sonatrachannounced on 28 July the award of eight of the 10 oil and gas permits offered as part of the country's fifth international licensing round. The five-year appraisal and exploration licences, awarded the day after bids were submitted by 15 companies, call on international oil companies (IOCs) to invest over $130 million. The contracts for the permits will be signed by mid-August (MEED 23:4:04; 26:3:04).
The selected IOCs are: The US' AmeradaHess - Agreb perimeters 428-429, covering 9,699 square kilometres in the Amguid Messaoud basin; Norway's Statoil - Hassi Mouina perimeters 317b-319b-321b-322b2, covering 22,992 square kilometres in the Gourara basin; Ireland's Petroceltic - Isarene perimeters 228-229, covering 10,871 square kilometres in the Illizi basin; Repsolwith Gas Natural, both of Spain - Gassi Chergui Ouest perimeters 214a-246a-246b, covering 4,831 square kilometres in the Berkine basin; China National Petroleum Company (CNPC)- El-M'zaid perimeter 438b, covering 4,353 square kilometres in the Oued Miya basin; China's Sinopec- Guerara perimeters 418-419-438a, covering 9,952 square kilometres in the Oued Miya basin, and El-Hadjira perimeters 416a-417, covering 6,865 kilometres, also in the Oued Miya basin; The Anglo/Australian BHP Billiton with Australia's Woodside Petroleum- Ksar Hirane perimeters 408a-409, covering 10,719 square kilometres in the Benoud basin. No bids were received for the Agreb Ouest 430-431a perimeters and the Melrhir 128s-412-413 perimeters. Sonatrach says it will launch a sixth licensing round in September.