Algeria is preparing specifications and bid documents for a tender to build two identical 5mn tons/year (100,000 b/d) refineries, according to Sonatrach downstream vice-president Abdelkader Benchouia. Addressing reporters on the sidelines of an exhibition in Oran, he said the two plants – at Biskra and Tiaret – are part of a $14bn program to build four new refineries, all scheduled to enter service for 2017 start-up. Refineries at Ghardaia and Hassi Messaoud are also planned. These will also have similar configurations, according to Minister of Energy and Mines Yousuf Yousfi.

Civil works at Biskra have already begun. Mr Yousfi, speaking at the launch of the project, said the Biskra plant would have capacity to produce 500,000 t/y (11,600 b/d) of gasoline, 220,000 t/y (7,000 b/d) of LPG and 169,000 t/y (3,600 b/d) of kerosene. Mr Benchouia noted that geological and engineering surveys were now being carried out at the proposed site for the Tiaret refinery. (CONTINUED - 502 WORDS)