With new licensing activity on the horizon and a revised hydrocarbons law in implementation, Algeria’s state-owned Sonatrach has signed several new memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with Eni, Total and Occidental Petroleum to further drive development of the Berkine basin.
The Berkine basin represents a critical exploration play in southeastern Algeria and comprises Block 208 – home to the Hassi Berkine, Ourhoud and El Merk fields – and Block 404.
In 2020 alone, Sonatrach signed nine MOUs – with Chevron, TPAO, Zarubezhneft, ExxonMobil, Lukoil, Eni, Cepsa, OMV and Wintershall Dea – regarding jointhy drocarbon exploration and development in the country, following the implementation of its new petroleum law.
Algeria is set to complete the implementation of the revised law by the first quarter of 2021, with approximately 40 implementing texts still to be approved by the government, according to S&P Global Platts. Aimed at reversing declining foreign investment in the national oil and gas sector, the law was approved in October 2019 through a vote by the National Assembly, targeting revised upstream contract terms and tax rates.
Notably, the law was drafted with input from the country’s five largest international oil companies, leveraging multilateral stakeholder involvement to better identify specific policy issues.
Following the finalization of the texts, national regulator Alnaft will launch a new bidding round by the end of June.