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Algeria's Sonatrach makes three new oil, gas finds since start of 2015: CEO

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Algeria's Sonatrach makes three new oil, gas finds since start of 2015: CEO

Algiers — Algeria's state-owned Sonatrach has made two "extremely high-quality" oil discoveries and one gas discovery since the start of this year, the company's CEO Said Sahnoun was cited as saying Thursday by state news agency APS.

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"Work in 2015 has led to three finds by Sonatrach acting by itself," Sahnoun said.

The first oil discovery was in the Touggourt region, while the second was in Ghardaia.

The gas find was at El Bayadh, he said.

Sahnoun said the company was now carrying out an evaluation of the discoveries, and is planning appraisal drilling "in the very short term."

He did not give any estimates for expected reserves at the sites, but said the wells flowed at rates of 3,000-4,000 b/d -- "flows that we haven't seen for some time."

Algeria's oil and gas production has been falling in recent years, though last year it was able to halt the decline.

Total output rose by 4.4% in 2014 to 200 million mt of oil equivalent (4 million boe/d), according to energy ministry data.

It is Algeria's ambition to continue to grow production through increased exploration activity.

However, the country has conceded that the results last year of its latest bid round, its fourth, could have been better. Only four blocks were awarded out of 31 on offer.

Algeria was expected to launch a fifth bid round in coming months, which was expected to include some of the blocks not awarded in the previous round.

Sonatrach alone has made the majority of recent discoveries.

In 2013-14, the country made 7 billion boe worth of discoveries.

Last year, 30 finds were made -- 29 by Sonatrach and one by international partners. In 2013, there were 32 finds.

--Lies Sahar,
--Edited by Maurice Geller,