Gas Shortages Send Algeria Back To The Steam Age

Algeria’s 2014-16 power expansion will need 20 bcm/year of gas – over 25% of current output – pressuring squeezed supplies. For its latest additions Algeria is now looking to steam turbines, less efficient but able to run on liquid fuels.

Algeria now plans to add 18.9GW of powergen capacity by end-2017, more than doubling the 14.95GW end-2013 figure. Of this, the 15.57GW being brought online during 2014-16 will be gas turbine capacity – open cycle, combined cycle gas turbines (CCGT) and trailer-mounted aeroderivative turbines – requiring just over 20 bcm/year (2bn cfd) of extra gas.

For 2013, Algeria produced 79.65 bcm of sales gas according to Cedigaz data, of which little over half (43.1 bcm, 54.1%) was exported. Though output edged up last year with the start-up of the Gassi Touil field, there is little prospect of it rising over the next couple of years – the next key increments, from the southwest gas project, are not due online till late-2017, while output at the workhorse Hassi R’Mel field is in decline. Any increased gas usage will come at the expense of exports, already over 20% down on their 2006 peak of 62 bcm. And, not only is gas output stagnant, Algeria also has ambitious petchems plans.


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