During his working visit from 3rd to 5th February to the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria (PDRA), Valerii Gulev, Managing Director of Gazprom International, the sole specialised company for the implementation of Gazprom OJSC's foreign upstream projects, met high-ranking representatives of the country's fuel and energy sector.
The head of Gazprom International had discussions with Abdelhamid Zerguine, President of the Algerian state oil and gas corporation, Sonatrach, and with Sid Ali Betata, Chairman of the Management of the National Agency for the Development of Hydrocarbon Resources, ALNAFT.
During the meetings, questions of current and future cooperation as regards exploring and developing hydrocarbon deposits within the territory of the PDRA were discussed. Thus, in particular, the head of ALNAFT invited Gazprom International to take part in the fourth round of the national and international tender to allocate new and promising sites for the exploration and subsequent development of Algeria's oil and gas resources. As part of this tender for licensing, over 30 plots are being put up for sale for the first time and their overall area comprises more than 19% of the country's territory.
At the present time, Gazprom International is continuing its work under the third phase of the geological exploration of the El Assel site, located in the Berkine oil and gas basin in the eastern area of Algeria. In January 2014, drilling started at the RSH-5 exploration well, whose projected depth is 4100 metres and whose aim is to delineate the structure of Rhourde Sayah at the north of the site.
At the start of 2009, Gazprom International joined the El Assel project with a 49% per cent share, while a 51% stake in it belongs to Sonatrach.
For the association between Sonatrach and Gazprom International, the highest management body which determines areas of work and exercises control over the operator's activity, is the Operating Committee, made up of representatives of both parties involved in the project.
The geological exploration period, under the terms of the contract, comprises three phases, during which the operator (Gazprom International) must conduct seismic surveys, drill five prospecting wells and, if commercially viable hydrocarbon deposits are discovered, implement a programme to delineate the discoveries made.
So far, a large-scale programme of exploration work has been carried out within the area of the El Assel site: a 3D seismic survey (2,748 square kilometres) and a 2D seismic survey (200 linear kilometres) and processing and interpretation of the data obtained and of seismic data from previous years. The operator has drilled a total of four prospecting wells, as a result of the construction of which, in 2010 and 2012, two new deposits of hydrocarbons were discovered at the site. Within the site area there is also a previously discovered oil and gas field, Zemlet Er Rekkeb.