Companies consider building second pipeline from Algeria to Italy

By an OGJ Online Correspondent

ALGIERS, Dec. 28 -- Algerian state oil and gas company Sonatrach, Italy's Enel SPA, and German company Wintershall AG established a joint venture to carry out feasibility studies for a $2 billion second gas pipeline to link Algeria and Italy, said the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' news agency.

In the first phase, the project would convey 10 billion cu m (bcm)/year of natural gas to Italy.

The proposed 1,500 km line would be built in four sections. The first would cross 640 km of Algeria from Hassi R'mel gas field to the northeast part of El Kala. The second stage, 310 km of subsea line, would link El Kala to Cagliari, Sardinia. The third section would connect Cagliari to Olbia, more than 200 km away on the northeastern shore of Sardinia, and the fourth section, about 300 km with a good portion offshore, would connect Olbia to Pescaia, southeast of Florence, Italy.

A later extension of the pipeline could supply gas to Germany.

Sonatrach holds 50% of the joint venture. Enel holds 35%, and Wintershall owns 15%.

Algeria is already linked to Europe by two other gas pipelines -- the Maghreb-Europe line, which transports 8 bcm/year of gas to Spain and 2.5 bcm/year to Portugal, and the Trans-Mediterranean line, supplying Italy with about 20 bcm/year of gas.

Meanwhile, Algerian and Spanish authorities are considering construction of another pipeline linking the two countries -- from Arzew in the northwest of Algeria to Almería, in southern Spain.

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