Sonatrach awards contracts for five offshore terminals

By an OGJ correspondent
NICOSIA, Dec. 16 -- Algeria's state-owned oil and gas company Sonatrach awarded to FMC Sofec Floating Systems, a Houston-based unit of FMC Technologies Inc., a $240 million contract to construct five offshore terminals for loading crude and condensate.

The project includes installation of two crude loading quays off the Mediterranean port of Arzew, two others in Skikda, and one in Bejaia. FMC Sofec will begin construction in 2003 and complete it within 24 months.

The project is expected to double Algeria's exports of liquid hydrocarbons to 220 million tonnes/year. Sonatrach officials said the new units would be able to receive large crude tankers with a capacity of 300,000 tons regardless of weather conditions. That would enable Sonatrach to supply distant markets in the US and, eventually, Asia, officials said. Algeria's Energy and Mines Minister Chakib Khelil said it also will ensure optimal exploitation of Algeria's increasing production capacity.

Khelil said the country's oil production capacity would be raised to 1.3 million b/d by the end of 2003 and to 1.5 million b/d in 2005, from 1.1 million b/d currently.

At last week's meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Algeria's production quota was increased to 735,000 b/d, effective in January, from 693,000 b/d currently. However, Khelil said Monday that Algeria will continue to push for a higher production quota to match its capacity of 1.1 million b/d.

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