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Algeria's Skikda LNG shut after technical issue, to undergo inspection: Sonatrach

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Algeria's Skikda LNG shut after technical issue, to undergo inspection: Sonatrach


Issue hit 4 million mt/year plant on June 11

Sonatrach to carry out 'necessary repairs'

Skikda was closed for six months in 2020

Algeria's Sonatrach has closed its 4 million mt/year capacity LNG plant at Skikda, it said June 19, after a technical fault was identified on June 11.

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State-owned Sonatrach operates four LNG production facilities -- three at Arzew and one at Skikda -- with a total capacity of 24.7 million mt/year, according to recent comments from the company.

"A technical issue occurred on June 11 at the Skikda LNG complex and led to the shutdown of this complex," Sonatrach said in a statement June 19.

"The issue was caused by a sudden failure of a gas turbine control mechanism," it said.

"As a safety precaution, Sonatrach has decided to conduct a thorough inspection in order to carry out the necessary repairs," it said.

So far in 2020, Algeria has exported 6.22 million mt of LNG -- the equivalent of 8.56 Bcm of gas -- according to data from S&P Global Platts Analytics, or around 50% of its technical nameplate capacity.

In 2020, Algerian LNG exports -- which totaled 10.9 million mt -- were constrained because the Skikda plant was closed from January until July due to extended maintenance, although Sonatrach attempted to compensate for the loss by increasing exports from Arzew.

Skikda was closed for planned maintenance that was originally expected to last for two months, but an incident in February saw damage to a turbine at the plant.

Sonatrach decided then to repair the turbine -- rather than replace it which would have taken 18 months -- in order to bring Skikda LNG back to service as soon as possible, which led to the extended outage.