Algeria officially launched the Biskra refinery project on 6 October, although civil works were started in September 2012. Biskra will be the first of four 100,000 b/d refineries to be built by Algeria, despite North African refiners facing issues developing and financing projects amid major economic and security concerns.

State news agency APS quoted Sonatrach CEO ‘Abd al-Hamid Zerguine as saying that preliminary construction work should be completed within 24 months. He added that commissioning of a petrochemicals plant to be built alongside the refinery is scheduled for 2018. The Biskra complex will be built near the town of El-Outaya, while a 300,000 cu ms (1.9mn barrels) products storage depot will be built nearby at Bitam. Total cost for the project is estimated at AD240bn ($2.9bn). (CONTINUED - 583 WORDS)