State-owned Sonatrach and Anadarko Petroleum Corporation have finally started production at the El Merk oil complex located in the Sahara desert of Algerian territory. The beginning of production at the $4,5 billion is a sign of relieve for the country’s hydrocarbon sector which was marred by a brutal hostage scenario at the beginning of the year.
The El Merk oil complex will be reaching a production capacity of 127,000 barrels of crude oil and condensates on a daily basis by the end of 2013. It also has a plant to process the hydrocarbons. According to reports, the complex has been pumping oil from its fields of the complex since two months back. However, it didn’t deliver its production outside the complex until this past Friday, which marks its first oil delivery. The United States Company, Andarko Petroleum, did confirm that production has started.
Analysts believe that the news will be welcomed because it shows Algeria’s capabilities to recover from setbacks like the attack on the In Amenas plant, which is operated by Sonatrach, United Kingdom’s British Petroleum (BP) and Norway’s Statoil ASA (STL.OS, STO). The terrorist attack on the plant received worldwide coverage and left 40 oil workers dead with foreign nationals dominating the list. The government has since increased security measures at plants. Anadarko Chief Executive Al Walker said the company had increased security at its operations in Algeria and that it had no intention to leave the country. Many companies also preferred boosting their security budget than leaving the North African country.
Security in general has been of great concern in the region as a whole and the Sahara desert is considered to be a safe haven for the terrorist and a place where countless illegal activities unfold.