French engineering firm Sofregaz has won five contracts worth €44m ($69m) to design major sections of Algeria’s new gas pipeline network.

State energy giant Sonatrach awarded the contracts to Sofregaz. The deals were signed on 13 June, according to a source at the company.

The contracts cover the engineering design of five projects which are key to Sonatrach’s plans to expand its gas transportation network. It will connect new production in the south of the country and export facilities in the north, to the main grid.

Sofregaz will design the pipeline linking new production in southwest Algeria with the central Hassi R’Mel hub, a new gas distribution centre at Hassi R’Mel, and compression stations for the GR5 and GR4 pipeline, which links the central Rhourde Nous field with Hassi R’Mel.

Sofregaz, a subsidiary of Italy’s Tecnimont, worked as a construction contractor in Algeria on numerous major projects in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s, but had not worked on any major schemes before the award of the Feed contract for a major new undersea pipeline, Galsi, linking Algeria with Italy in 2007.