Algeria’s shale gas reserves are the world’s third largest. Libya and Egypt are also in the global top 20. But almost all of this potential bounty is in areas of extreme aridity. Replicating North America’s shale revolution will be an uphill task.

Algeria has ambitious plans to tap recoverable shale gas resources estimated at 707 tcf, the world’s third largest, by the US government’s Energy Information Administration (EIA). The country last year amended its oil law with a view to attract massive investment “particularly in unconventional hydrocarbons.” On 30 September it closes a touchstone bid round, in which 31 blocks throughout the country, many considered primarily shale prone, are on offer (MEES, 22 August). (CONTINUED - 1321 WORDS)