Collective oil output at three key fields in Algeria’s Berkine Basin fell to 319,000 b/d in Q4 and 320,000 b/d for 2018 as a whole, according to freshly-released figures from US firm Anadarko, which operates the facilities for the El Merk, Ourhoud and HBNS field. With both HBNS and Ourhoud in long-term decline, collective output is the lowest since El Merk’s first full year of output in 2014 (see chart). At just 174,000 b/d for 2018, combined HBNS and Ourhoud output is half 2011 levels and a mere 31% of the 470,000 b/d 2007 figure.

Anadarko says the completion of a water treatment project at HBNS last October will “improve long-term oil delivery,” adding that “infill drilling operations continue with positive results and to help maintain plateau at El Merk and minimize overall field declines at HBNS.” That said, with the firm guiding expected net Algerian output of 60,000-65,000 b/d for 2019 versus actual 2018 output 64,000 b/d, it evidently considers a further fall the most likely outcome. (CONTINUED - 430 WORDS)