Algeria Says 2012 Oil Discoveries Don’t Offset Output Decline

Oil discoveries in Algeria last year are “important” though they won’t offset the decline in production, the country’s energy minister said.

Algeria’s state-run energy company, Sonatrach, made 31 oil and gas discoveries in 2012, some alone and others in tandem with its foreign partners, Youcef Yousfi told reporters in Algiers today, stressing the need for further exploration efforts.

The El Merk field is expected to begin production this year, and will be added to the Menzel Ledjmet East fields that have been operational for almost one month, he said without elaborating.

The country produced 1.2 million barrels of crude a day last month, according to a monthly OPEC production survey compiled by Bloomberg. That’s down from an average of 1.26 million in the four years ended 2012, and 1.4 million in 2008.