Algerian state-run energy company Sonatrach announced an investment of up to $80 billion over the next five years as part of its plans to expand its gas resources and boost its refining and petrochemical capacity.
The planned investment of $12 billion is in addition to previously announced plans by the North African producer, which is one of the major suppliers of natural gas to Europe.
“The increase in the investment is mainly focused on the upstream (sector) to increase its refinery capacity and petrochemical base,” Sonatrach CEO Abdelhamid Zerguine told a gas industry conference on Wednesday.
Algeria, like many other top OPEC oil producers, imports large quantities of refined fuel products such as gasoline and gasoil due to insufficient refining capacity, draining much of its foreign exchange.
Sonatrach purchased around 1.3 million tonnes of fuels in 2011.
Zerguine said some of the $80 billion investment would be used to build new refineries, but did not provide any details.
The CEO also added cited a preliminary study that showed Algeria has an estimated 600 trillion cubic feet of recoverable shale gas reserves and currently produces 1.2 million barrels of crude a day. No further details were given.
“We are producing up to the level of the OPEC quota,” he said, referring to the quota set by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.