Algeria ranks third globally after China and Argentina in technically recoverable shale gas reserves with 20 Tcm, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Developing abundant shale gas has become a necessity for Algeria to reverse its declining domestic natural gas production and safeguard its economy.
Local gas demand is expected to rise rapidly due to continued population growth. In the decade to 2014, domestic gas consumption has more than tripled. On the top of that, the Algerian Electricity and Gas Regulation Commission projects domestic gas consumption will grow by another 50% to 50 Bcm by 2020.
Algeria is considered one of the main reliable gas suppliers to Europe through three trans-Mediterranean pipelines. The country’s gas exports to Europe increased slightly in 2017 to 55 Bcm compared to 54 Bcm in 2016, according to Sonatrach CEO Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour.
To meet growing local consumption and to keep the steady flow of gas to Europe, Algeria needs to tap it shale gas reserve, which is considered one of the world’s largest technically recoverable shale gas resources, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Algeria ranks third globally after China and Argentina in technically recoverable shale gas reserves with 20 Tcm (707 Tcf of reserves, the EIA said in a 2013 report.
Meanwhile, the Algerian energy ministry estimates total technically recoverable resources at 741 Tcf, using a recovery factor of 15%, and covering Ahnet, Timimoun, Bechar, Berkine Berkine and Illizi basins.
Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia encouraged management of the government-owned firm “to invest in the shale gas sector.”
“It is time for Sonatrach to use all its energy in the service of business and the country,” Ouyahia said. “This is not adventurism but an option aimed at guaranteeing the future in terms of energy.”