Eni, Sonatrach start construction on 10 MW PV plant in Algeria

The two companies are now building the project in Ouargla, the capital of Ouargla Province, in the Sahara Desert in southern Algeria.

The installation will sell electricity to the Bir Rebaa North (BRN) oil field, which is operated by Sonatrach unit Groupemen Sonatrach Agip (GSA).

The project will be completed in December 2017. Eni said that approximately 32,000 solar panels will be used for the plant, without providing additional technical or financial details.

Eni also said it will establish a renewable energy joint venture in Algeria as part of the agreement it signed with Sonatrach in November.

The two companies signed a preliminary strategic agreement in September, which included the 10 MW PV project in Ouargla. At the time, Eni said the deal with Sonatrach was in line with its long-term strategy, which is aimed at integrating its traditional business with energy from renewable sources.

Sonatrach will play a central role in the upcoming tender for 4 GW of solar capacity recently announced by the Algerian government.

Projects selected in the auction will be 51% owned by a domestic investor and 49% by an international partner. Sonatrach will take a 40% stake in all of its projectss, while state-owned utility Sonelgaz and other public or private Algerian companies will hold the remaining 11%.

Eni has been active in the Algerian oil and gas sectors since 1981. The company has obtained 38 mining permits to date. In 2015 Eni’s share of oil and gas production in the country amounted to 96,000 barrels per day.