Algeria has boosted output at two major oil fields, including the giant Hassi Messaoud Field, an official at state energy firm Sonatrach said on July 18.
Production at Hassi Messaoud, 800 kilometers (km), or 500 miles, southeast of the capital of Algiers, has risen to 470,000 barrels (Mbbl), up from 420 Mbbl a few months ago, the Sonatrach source told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference.
Output at Ourhoud oil field, which is about 1,100 km southeast of Algiers, has risen to 125 Mbbl, up from 100 Mbbl, the source, who did not wish to be named, said.
The Ourhoud Field is operated by Sonatrach and its associates Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: APC), Indonesia's Pertamina, and Cepsa.
"Algeria's top goal is to increase output by 30% by 2020," Energy Minister Nouredine Bouterfa told reporters in Hassi Messaoud.
Bouterfa has also said that Algeria will not wait for a tender in two years time, but will deal directly with international firms present in Algeria.
"We can't wait two years because we need to boost our output," Bouterfa said, adding that Algeria's current production is at 1.2 MMbbl/d.
About 97% of Algeria's revenues are from hydrocarbon sales. The OPEC member is a key supplier of gas to Europe.
Sonatrach is struggling to raise hydrocarbon output to ease pressure from a crash in oil prices that slashed revenues by almost 50%.
Two bidding tenders in recent years failed to attract much interest, with oil executives saying that tough terms on production-sharing contracts and bureaucracy made the country a less attractive prospect.
Sonatrach is now focused on maximizing output at its mature fields and seeking foreign partners for technology.
"We will dig 32 to 50 wells at Hassi Messaoud starting this year, vs. only eight wells in 2013 and 2014," a senior Sonatrach manager told Reuters.
"We have used all the techniques including the enhanced oil recovery [EOR] and the water alternating gas to boost production," he said.
There was no immediate confirmation or comment from state oil firm NOC which operates with foreign partners the 315,000 barrels-per-day (bbl/d) field deep in Libya’s southern desert.
Egypt expects investments of at least $750 million to $800 million in the first stage of exploration in the 12 concessions, Petroleum Minister Tarek El Molla said during a press conference.
Uganda expects to begin producing oil in 2022, its energy minister Irene Muloni said on Feb. 13, indicating a slight delay from the east African country’s revised target of 2021.