Italian major Eni and Algeria's state-owned Sonatrach have signed an accord to re-launch and strengthen their oil and gas exploration and development partnership in the strategic Berkine Basin, Eni said in a statement on Thursday.
The memorandum of understanding was signed Algiers by Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi and Sonatrach chief Toufik Hakkar on the sidelines of a meeting between Descalzi and Algerian Minister of Energy, Abdelmadjid Attar, the statement said.
Descalzi and Attar's meeting was to take stock of Eni’s activities in the country, future projects and to discuss the energy transition, which is central to Eni’s new strategy, the statement noted.
“Today’s agreement testifies to the commitment of Sonatrach and Eni to expand their partnership in Algeria, in line with their shared strategy of the accelerated development of their projects and pursuing their common objectives of decarbonisation as part of their commitment to achieve long-term carbon neutrality, reducing and compensating for climate-changing gas emissions up to zero," said Descalzi.
The moU sets out a "roadmap" for a new hydrocarbon contract in the southern area of the Berkine Basin, under the aegis of the new Algerian oil law which came into force in December 2019, according to the statement.
At their meeting, Hakkar and Descalzi also reiterated their readiness to collaborate in other areas through staff training, research and development, technology transfer, renewable energy and other fields linked to the gas and oil products markets.
An moU signed in July on collaboration in the upstream sector has the goal of creating a new gas and oil development hub in the region through synergies with the existing assets of MLE-CAFC (Block 405b), said the statement.
Eni and Sonatrach are also looking at expanding the BRN photovoltaic plant, first completed at the end of 2018, and to build new photovoltaic plant at the MLE site, which will supply clean energy to the existing gas treatment plant while reducing emissions resulting from self-consumption of gas, the statement added.
The initiatives are part of Eni and Sonatrach's moves to pool resources and develop a joint strategy aimed at combining economic, financial and environmental sustainability, the statement went on.
Both companies share a target to reduce carbon footprint of natural gas production through making processes more energy-efficient, though the electrification of treatment plants and the abatement of fugitive methane emissions via "systematic and structured" monitoring campaigns, the statement concluded.
Eni currently operates 32 mining permits in Algeria, where it is the main foreign energy company.