Italy’s Eni has begun regular production at the MLE project in Algeria’s Berkine Basin. The company continues to be rocked by an Algeria-related corruption scandal at services subsidiary Saipem. Meanwhile, start-up at Anadarko’s El Merk, the biggest new Algerian project this year, is now slated for March. Output from the Menzel Lejmat East (MLE) wet gas field in Algeria’s Berkine Basin will go some way to compensate for the 8bcm/year of output shut in at In Amenas since the 16 January terrorist attack. MLE entered regular operation at the end of January having started test production in late December (MEES, 11 January).

At full capacity the MLE plant will process wet gas to produce 320mn cfd (3.3bcm/y) of sales gas, 5,000 b/d of crude, 10,000 b/d of condensate and 12,000 b/d of LPG. A second stage of development will see the tie-in of output from the nearby Central Area Field Complex (CAFC), also on Block 405b, from August. Eni has 75% and Sonatrach 25%. All gas output will be marketed by Sonatrach. (CONTINUED - 921 WORDS)