The Touat gas project was due in 2016, but will not come online until 2018, Ould Kaddour says. REUTERS/Lamine Chikhi
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Algeria needs to exploit its shale gas resources to offset a surge in local energy consumption that is eating into vital exports, but developing the industry will take time and require far-reaching reforms at the state energy firm.Algeria's gas exports are expected to fall to 54 billion cubic meters in 2017 from 57 billion in 2016, the state energy firm Sonatrach has said. New shale gas projects will not happen overnight as only limited geological survey data exists and Algeria needs to change legislation to offer more attractive terms to foreign firms, which are selective about investments at a time of low energy prices, industry sources say.Key Western firms are anxious about gas supplies as Algeria's exports drop. Domestic gas demand is expected to rise further due to Algeria's growing population, industry sources say.Even with new fields planned to open by 2020, Algeria will only maintain gas output at the current 94 billion cubic meters a year unless it can make big strides in shale exploitation, Sonatrach sources say.As cheap reserves get tapped out, Algeria risks becoming less competitive, especially if it sells gas on an oil-linked basis, industry sources say.
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