Algiers — Algeria's state-owned Sonatrach has completed the construction of a gas pipeline to link new fields in the southwest of the country with its main distribution hub at Hassi R'Mel, the company said at the weekend.
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The 4 Bcm/year capacity GR7 pipeline links the field complexes of Hassi Ba Hamou and Hassi Mouina to the Hassi R'Mel hub from where Algerian gas can be transported north for export to southern Europe.
The pipeline is an extension of the GR5 pipeline, which brings gas from the recently commissioned Touat, Reggane Nord and Timimoun gas fields to Hassi R'Mel.
"The new pipeline will allow the capacity of Sonatrach's system Reggane-Hassi R'Mel to reach some 13 Bcm/year," the company said.
The GR5 pipeline previously had a capacity of 9 Bcm/year.
New producing region
Developing new fields in the southwest of Algeria and linking them to the rest of the gas network has been a strategic priority for Sonatrach over the past few years.
Together with partner Neptune Energy, gas from the 4.7 Bcm/year Touat field was first fed into the Algerian network in September last year.
Before that, Sonatrach and partners Total and Cepsa began production from the 1.8 Bcm/year Timimoun field in February 2018, while the 2.8 Bcm/year Reggane Nord field began producing in December 2017.
Both the Hassi Ba Hamou and Hassi Mouina projects have faced significant delays, however.
Sonatrach had hoped to bring them online by 2018, but both are still several years from starting production
The Hassi Ba Hamou field complex will consist of three new gas treatment and compression installations, and is expected to produce at some 11 million cu m/d (4 Bcm/year).
The Hassi Mouina license in Adrar, southwestern Algeria, was won by Equinor in 2005 and several gas discoveries were made, but the company abandoned the project, and Sonatrach took it on alone.
According to the development plan, gas production could be 3.8 million cu m/d at Hassi Mouina North and 3.8 million cu m/d at Hassi Mouina South, for a total of 7.6 million cu m/d from the project -- the equivalent of 2.8 Bcm/year.