Algerian Gas-Export Capacity Set to Rise 17% on Plant Expansion

Algeria, Africa’s largest natural-gas producer, will raise its capacity to export the fuel by 17 percent this year with expansions at two liquefaction plants, according to state-owned energy company Sonatrach.

Annual gas-export capacity is set to increase to 110 billion cubic meters (3.9 trillion cubic feet), Chief Executive Officer Abdelhamid Zerguine said at a press conference yesterday in Algiers. That compares with 94 billion cubic meters in 2013, he said.

Expanded liquefaction plants at Arzew, in Algeria’s west, and Skikda in the east will lift the nation’s annual capacity for seaborne shipments by 16 billion cubic meters to 60 billion cubic meters, according to Sonatrach. The country also has two pipelines running to Spain and another to Italy that together can carry 50 billion cubic meters of gas annually.

Algeria’s gas exports dropped 11 percent last year to 45 billion cubic meters, according to Societe Generale SA estimates. The country’s deliveries peaked in 2005 at 65 billion cubic meters and have declined since as local consumption increased 40 percent while production fell 12 percent.

Revenue from national oil and gas exports slid 10 percent to $63.5 billion last year, according to Zerguine.

A new liquefaction train in Skikda with annual capacity of 4.5 million metric tons “just completed performance tests successfully,” the CEO said. Another new train at Arzew with a 4.7 million-ton annual capacity should start operating in the second quarter, he said.

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