In a bold start to 2020, Algerian state oil firm Sonatrach on 8 January awarded a consortium of Spain’s Técnicas Reunidas (55%) and Korea’s Samsung Engineering (45%) a $3.7bn EPC contract to build a new 5mn t/y (110,000 b/d) refinery at Haoud El Hamra near the Hassi Messaoud oil hub.

The award has been a long time coming. Hassi Messaoud is the only remaining project from a once-ambitious plan to build up to four new 5mn t/y refineries (MEES, 21 September 2012). First conceived in 2012, it took four years for Sonatrach to eventually award FEED for the plant to the UK’s Amec Foster Wheeler. This was subsequently cancelled. Then in 2018 Sonatrach announced it was considering seven technical bids (MEES, 1 June 2018). In short, it has taken a whopping eight years to reach this stage. And even more will be needed for first output. (CONTINUED - 978 WORDS)