Offering significant reserves and attractive policies, Algeria’s shale gas is poised to play a much larger role in scaling up energy security in Africa.
Known for its rich oil and gas reserves, Algeria has set its sights on becoming a major player in the global shale gas industry. With the third-largest shale gas reserves worldwide, Algeria is committed to attracting investments and fostering a favorable business environment for international players. Through its strategic regulatory policies and through platforms such as African Energy Week (AEW) – taking place October 16-20 in Cape Town – the country aims to connect new investors to its burgeoning shale gas market.
Algeria’s untapped shale gas reserves are estimated at 20 trillion cubic meters or 707 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of technically recoverable resources. These reserves hold immense potential for both domestic consumption and export, presenting a lucrative opportunity for global players seeking to capitalize on the growing demand for natural gas. The country’s shale formations, primarily located in the Ahnet, Timimoun and Reggane basins, offer substantial quantities of recoverable gas resources. While relatively untapped, Algeria’s shale gas market is set to reap high returns on investment for global players, owing to opportunities to tap into an established domestic natural gas market in-country.
Currently, Algeria represents the fifth-largest global exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG). The African Energy Chamber’s (AEC) State of African Energy Q1 2023 report notes that the country is expected to maintain its LNG infrastructure capacity of 29 million tons per annum in the medium term, with national oil company Sonatrach aiming to supply the global gas market with upwards of 110 billion cubic meters of gas per year through 2027. By capitalizing on its shale gas, the country is poised to not only increase exports and revenue generation but stimulate regional economic growth on the back of energy security.
Recognizing the importance of attracting investment in the shale gas sector, Algeria has implemented a series of regulatory policies aimed at creating an enabling environment for international players. The Algerian government has adopted a transparent legal framework that ensures the rights and obligations of investors, safeguarding their interests in the exploration and production phases. Moreover, the government has streamlined administrative procedures and introduced incentives to encourage foreign direct investment in the sector.
Algeria introduced its new Hydrocarbon Law in December 2019, aimed at attracting foreign investors. The law brought about substantial changes to tax rates and investment conditions in the hydrocarbons sector, facilitating the inflow of new capital. With challenges such as high taxes and unclear contract-sharing agreements, historically limiting foreign investment, the Algerian government prioritized amendments to fiscal terms regarding Exploration and Production (E&P) activities and eliminated customs duties and taxes on imported E&P equipment. The 2019 law also simplified contractual agreement types, with Sonatrach becoming the primary contracting party and offering three agreement options: Participation Agreements, Production Sharing Agreements, and Risk Service Agreements. As a result, Algeria has witnessed the active participation of foreign players, such as TotalEnergies, ENI, Equinor, among others.
Stepping into this picture, AEW 2023 serves as a bridge connecting international players to Algeria’s shale gas market, offering a range of services such as market analysis, matchmaking with local partners, project management support, and access to financing mechanisms. The event brings together government officials, industry experts and stakeholders, creating a conducive environment for networking, knowledge-sharing and business collaboration. By participating in AEW, global players can gain valuable insights into Algeria’s shale gas sector and establish meaningful connections with key decision-makers.
“Algeria’s shale gas potential, backed by its abundant reserves and favorable regulatory policies, presents an attractive opportunity for global players in the energy industry. At AEW, international investors are well-positioned to participate in the discussions around E&P opportunities within Algeria’s shale gas resources,” states NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the AEC, adding that “As the country seeks to diversify its energy portfolio and meet growing domestic and international demand, Algeria’s shale gas market holds significant potential for those willing to seize the opportunity.”
AEW is the AEC’s annual energy event connecting global investors and project developers to African energy opportunities. Algeria is set to play a central role at the event, with a dedicated country spotlight session offering stakeholders a unique opportunity to gain insight into the promising shale gas market and network with high-level policymakers and institutions. Visit www.aecweek.com for more information about this exciting event.