Algeria Gas Set For Record 2018 With Start-Up Of Key Southwest Fields

Algeria’s 2017 gas output was only just shy of record levels set the previous year. With the second of two key ‘Southwest Gas Project’ components starting up this week, the country can expect new records in 2018.

The 24 February start-up of output at the Timimoun gas field makes it the second of three components of the 9bcm/y phase-1 of the country’s Southwest Gas Project (SWGP) to enter service.

The much-delayed SWGP ( MEES, 14 July 2017 ) has for years formed the centerpiece of Algeria’s hopes of boosting gas output. But, whilst the country’s gas output may indeed top 2016’s 94.8bcm and 2017’s 94.5bcm to hit new record levels this year, the chronic delays since the project was first proposed last decade (MEES, 12 October 2009) mean that domestic gas demand has soared in the meantime.

Despite 2017 gas output being almost 10bcm up since the start of the decade, ambitious gas-fired power and petrochemicals expansions mean that domestic consumption has risen by 13bcm (46%) over the same period (see table). So exports remain over 3bcm down on 2010 levels with the country’s 25.3mn t/y of LNG export capacity less than half utilized (2017 LNG exports were 12.0mn tons – 15.7bcm of gas – up from 11.5mn tons for 2016). Even with the start-up of Timimoun, which will hit full 1.8bcm/y (175mn cfd) capacity later this year – to be followed by the third and largest SWGP component, 4.5bcm/y Touat – Algeria will struggle to take exports back to 2010 levels. Ambitious plans to add 2.4GW of mostly gas-fired power generation capacity by mid-2018 ( MEES, 24 November 2017 ) mean domestic consumption is set to rise as well. (CONTINUED - 1348 WORDS)

DATA INSIDE THIS ARTICLE

table Algeria: Key Gas Data (BCM): 2017 Output, Exports Slightly Down On 2016 Records But 4Q Jump Presages Record 2018
chart Italy Gas Imports From Algeria (Bcm*): Both This And Last Winter Have Seen Bumper 2bcm/Mth Deliveries. Will This Continue?