Emerging shale oil producer is courting Exxon and Chevron

By Rachel Adams-Heard on 6/28/2018

HOUSTON (Bloomberg) -- Algeria’s energy industry is open for business.

That’s the message the head of the country’s state-owned oil and natural gas company is taking to majors like Exxon Mobil and Chevron as Algeria looks to attract more foreign investment to help it tap its rich shale reserves.

Sonatrach first met with Exxon about a new partnership in January, according to Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour, the company’s CEO. Since then, the companies have sat down four times, and Ould Kaddour hopes to iron out the details in time to announce a deal by the end of the year.

“We need a lot more companies to come explore,” Ould Kaddour said in an interview at the World Gas Conference in Washington. “We’re talking to all the big companies.”

Algeria holds the world’s third-largest unconventional gas reserves, with about 2,000 trillion cu ft of shale gas resources, Ould Kaddour said.

Right now, Sonatrach is responsible for 90% of the exploration and production of both oil and gas in Algeria. But Ould Kaddour wants to change that. He hopes Sonatrach will ultimately get help from partners for about half of all of its drilling activity.

“Exxon Mobil is Exxon Mobil,” he said. “They have huge experience in that field, and they use technology that could be positive for our development."

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