Algiers, Algeria | – International oil companies have picked up just four of 31 exploration blocks offered in Algeria’s fourth licensing round, the results of which were announced Tuesday.
An Enel-Dragon oil consortium picked up two blocks, Tinhert Nord and Msari Akabil. A Statoil-Shell consortium was awarded Timissit and a Repsol-Shell partnership took the Boughezoul block.
The round had been twice postponed to give companies more time to evaluate the blocks on offer.
Oil and gas exploration in Algeria has declined in recent years, with international companies unhappy about terms on offer for exploring Algeria’s vast resources.
Three previous exploration rounds met with limited success.
Ten license areas were offered in the third round in 2011 but only two were awarded, to Spain’s Cepsa and Sonatrach. Three blocks were picked up in 2009 and four in 2008.
Algeria began revising its hydrocarbon law at the beginning of 2012. The amendments, which apply to all new developments, were passed at the beginning of 2013.
Sid-Ali Betata, president of state energy regulator Alnaft, described the results of the fourth round as “acceptable.”