Maintaining the proven hydrocarbon reserves of Algeria, estimated at 4 billion tons of oil is "an achievement speaking itself," said Tuesday the newly appointed CEO of the Algerian oil giant Sonatrach, Abdelhamid Zerguine. He made this comment in response to concerns about the decline of production in some Algerian fields.
According to a statement Zerguine made at a press conference to discuss the company’s balance sheet, despite the fact that Algeria is no longer a venue for major oil discoveries, the "many small discoveries," can compensate.
During last year, Sonatrach has posted a net profit of 767 billion dinars ($10.36 billion), against 706 billion dinars in 2010. In 2012, Sonatrach expects investments to hit $15.8 billion, of which 72 percent is to be directed to the upstream business, 22 percent to the downstream and 6 percent for pipeline transportation.
Furthermore, for the period of 2012-2016, the Algerian energy giant plans to invest $68.2 billion, 82 percent of which is for the exploration and development of oil and gas fields.
According to Zerguine, the company's revenues from oil exports reached $72 billion last year, in comparison to $56 billion in 2010 and $44 billion in 2009.
He stated that the Algerian oil price, the Saharan Blend, averaged $112 last year.
In 2011, Sonatrach drilled 160 exploratory wells. In 2012, it plans to drill 110 wells and 134 development wells. In its development plan for 2012-2016, Sonatrach plans to drill 687 exploration wells and 660 development wells. Algeria will keep its gas exports at 60 billion cubic meters per year.
Additionally, in 2011, gasoline imports rose 77 percent as huge amounts of imported fuel were diverted to Morocco and Tunisia. To cope with the growing domestic demand, particularly in fuel, the import volume reached 2.3 million tons (against 1.3 million in 2010). Zerguine stressed that Sonatrach will continue to import fuel in sufficient quantities to meet national needs.
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