Eni to Build Algerian Solar Plant
Italy’s Eni said September 23 it has reached a strategic agreement with Algerian state producer Sonatrach to develop renewable energy projects in Algeria, the first being a 10 megawatt photovoltaic plant on their joint Bir Rebaa North (BRN) oil and gas field near the Tunisia/Libya borders. Eni said the goal is to start work building the 10 MW plant before end-2016.
In June, Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi and Sonatrach chief Amine Mazouzi agreed in June to cooperate on renewables, during meetings in which Eni’s upstream licences in the country were extended. Eni says its long-term strategy is to integrate its core and renewable businesses.
Bir Rebaa North oil production centre (Photo credit: contractor Bonatti)
Descalzi said: "In the early 1970s, Eni was the first foreign company to sign an agreement with the Algerian state, for the construction of the Transmed gas pipeline, and, in 1987, the first oil & gas company to sign an upstream contract in Algeria. Today Eni is the first oil & gas company to reach a strategic agreement in the field of solar energy in Algeria, a country with an important potential". Eni, Shell and Total have spoken this year of their plan to invest in renewable energy, alongside infrastructure for gas-fired power, in developing countries where they are already oil and gas producers.
Sonatrach and Sonelgaz have also discussed borrowing to fund new investments, including renewables, from the African Development Bank among others.