The landmark project entails the development of an integrated LNG system using gas sourced from the six Gassi Touil fields, which contain total reserves of about 9 trillion cubic feet. The contract calls for the appraisal and development of the three undeveloped southern fields and the construction of infrastructure to transport gas from these and the already-developed northern fields to a new liquefaction plant at Arzew in the northwest, the construction of which is also part of the contract. The plant, forecast to come on stream in 2009, will have LNG capacity of 3.8 million tonnes a year. A second train may also be added.

Technical proposals were originally submitted in March 2003, but severe delays were caused following the earthquake in May last year and the award date was postponed until March 2004. Sonatrach then delayed the award date a second time, citing bidders’ concerns over extra acreage in the Rhourde Nouss field (MEED 26:3:04; 5:3:04).