Chevron is set to seal an exploration deal with Algeria and is assessing the North African country’s estimated huge shale gas resources, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.
Chevron is not alone in the foray for the replacement of Russian gas deliveries to Europe. Supermajors, including Italy’s Eni and French’s TotalEnergies, see Algeria and North Africa as fertile sources for natural gas.
Russia had slashed supply to Europe after it invaded Ukraine and the West came after them with sanctions.
The Journal’s report on Monday said Chevron has sent representatives to Algiers to explore opportunities, and some of those representatives have met with Algerian officials in recent weeks.
Chevron is also assessing the vast shale gas resources that Algeria is estimated to have. Algeria is believed to have the world’s third-biggest shale gas resources, at 706.9 trillion cubic feet, more than the U.S. shale gas resources estimated at 622.5 trillion cubic feet, according to data compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Administration [EIA].
Only China and Argentina are estimated to hold more shale gas resources than Algeria. “Algeria holds a world-class petroleum system with significant potential for conventional and unconventional oil-and-gas exploration,” the Journal quoted an unnamed spokeswoman, but declined to comment on specific opportunities or discussions.
Chevron operates in the Mediterranean, with a stake in the huge Leviathan gas field offshore Israel, one of the world’s largest deepwater gas discoveries of the 2000-2010 period.
The U.S. supermajor is also the operator of the Nargis Offshore Area Concession offshore Egypt in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Last month, Eni announced a significant new gas discovery at the Nargis-1 exploration well in the area in which Chevron Holdings C Pte. Ltd. is the operator with a 45% interest.
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Oil and gas majors are now looking to sign additional deals in the Mediterranean and North Africa to supply gas to Europe, which wants to ditch Russian gas by 2027.
Eni’s chief executive, Claudio Descalzi told the Financial Times last month that Europe should look to Africa for a “south-north” energy axis that would deliver gas from Africa to the EU.