Algiers, Algeria | – Algeria’s state-owned energy giant Sonatrach plans to invest at least $70 billion over the next 20 years to exploit shale gas in the southern desert, its managing director Said Sahnoun said on Sunday.
Sonatrach intends to moves ahead with the plan despite protest against shale gas drilling in In Salah in Tamanrasset province.
The company hopes to produce some 20 billion cubic meters (700 billion cubic feet) of shale gas per year from 200 drill sites, Sahnoun told state radio, according to AFP.
Sahnoun said fears regarding shale gas exploration were unfounded but acknowledged that Sonatrach could have done more to allay public concerns.
“Perhaps we haven’t communicated enough about the issue,” he said.
Last month Algeria successfully completed its first pilot drilling of shale gas in the Ahnet Basin (In Salah), results of which is ”very promising”.
This first pilot well drilled by Sonatrach confirmed the existence of substantial reserves of shale gas in the Ahnet basin, located in In Salah.