Sonatrach announces major gas find in Algeria

01 March 2010

Timeline for development may be delayed by corruption probe

Algerian state energy giant Sonatrach has made a new major gas discovery, the company said in a 27 February statement.

The find was made at the El-Kheit Tessekha well in the Menzel Ledjmet concession in the south of the country. Sonatrach produced up to 21,486 cubic metres an hour of natural gas from the well under test conditions.

The company also found smaller volumes of gas at the Garet el-Khatem well in the Zemoul El-Kbar permit, and the Guellala Ouest well at the Oued Mya well.

Sonatrach has not set a timeline for the development of the wells, which may be set back by recent investigations into alleged corruption within the company.

In January, 16 members of Sonatrach’s senior management were removed from their posts as part of a major corruption investigation. Algiers removed the chief executive, Mohamed Meziane, along with up to 15 other senior officials as part of the investigation.

Meziane was removed from duty on 12 January along with Boumediene Belkacem, vice president for exploration and production, Benamar Zenasni, vice president for pipelines, and Chawki Rahal, vice president for marketing (MEED 17:1:2010).

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