The licenses were awarded at a public session to select the winning companies in a bid round. In Algeria’s last licensing round, only four out of 16 permits initially on offer were granted.
Sunday’s round saw a consortium led by China’s CNOOC win the Hassi Bir Rekaiz permit, while a consortium headed by Total was awarded the licence for Ahnet and Spanish Repsol and its partners got the South-East Illizi permit, Takherst added.
‘We are happy with the result, though we wished to award all the 10 permits in offer. It is possible that foreign firms are (undergoing) special circumstances linked to the global downturn and the international gas market,’ Algeria’s Energy Minister Chakib Khelil told reporters.
‘There was a problem with the oil prices last year and this year there is a problem with prices of gas,’ he added. He did not elaborate.
Neither Khelil nor Takherst gave details on the prices for the awarded licenses or investments needed for the exploration operations in the three areas.