As North Africa gains in importance for it's natural gas exports to Europe, links are being made between the two continents.
Recently, on Rigzone, Fugro announced that they've "been awarded a contract to perform a detailed marine survey in the Mediterranean Sea to select the best route for the GALSI gas pipeline from Algeria to Southern Sardinia, and then from Northern Sardinia to the mainland of Italy".
Fugro will be using their vessel, the Geo Prospector (pictured on the right) and their geotechnical vessel, the Bucentaur (pictured on the left) - a drillship to do geological sampling.
The work is being financed by a group of companies, under a Joint Venture named Galsi S.p.A and includes the following companies:
- and the Sardinian company Sfirs.
Reading through the above Wikipedia corporate description of Galsi S.p.A, it can be seen that Sonatrach has the largest percentage, 36% and that Russia's Gazprom may potentially have an interest in the company and pipeline as well. Again, a there is a good mix of National and Independent's working together.
As developed countries look to do more business and as North Africa opens its doors to exploration, more and more links will be made. This pipeline begins in the middle of the Sahara and ends near Tuscany, Italy. Wikipedia describes the route as:
"The pipeline will start from the Hassi R'mel field in Algeria and the 640 kilometers long first section will run to El Kala at the coast of Mediterranean Sea. The 310 kilometers long offshore section with two legs will be laid between El Kala and Cagliary, Sardinia."
I worked in Hassi R'mel when I was in Algeria with Schlumberger and can definitely say Algeria has potential to become more a power in North Africa, if it follows Libya and Tunisia's model and focus on building a solid infrastructure and employing more locals. The oil infrastructure is a start, the next step is the roads, the sewers, and promoting a safe work environment. In the end though, I would return to Algeria and Hassi R'mel in a heart beat, as the people I met and Sahara desert is definitely a place to visit and experience.
Eni has been making investments in North Africa, mainly in Libya for the last quarter of a century. There is this very recent Press Release which states clearly that Libya's NOC and Eni "will continue to explore the prolific NC41 offshore area, and strengthen the hub of Mellitah by expanding gas export capacity from 8 to 16 billion cubic meters/year"
Expect over the next few years to see more positive news coming from North Africa.