Italian oil major Eni and Algerian state-owned oil company Sonatrach have inaugurated a Solar Lab and laid the first stone of a new 10MW PV plant in the Bir Rebaa North production complex, in the Berkine basin, south-eastern Algeria.
This solar PV plant will be the second one linked to the Bir Rebaa North (BRN) oil field facility aimed at decarbonising the facility’s hydrocarbon production. It will be added to the existing 10MW solar PV plant launched in 2018.
The goal of the Solar Lab is to test different solar PV panels in extreme irradiation conditions and analyse the data to identify the most efficient technologies. The Lab will be open to universities for research purposes, ultimately promoting the development of renewables in Algeria.
Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi said in a statement: “Decarbonising our legacy businesses is a pillar of Eni’s net-zero strategy, and today we celebrate the strong alignment between Eni and Sonatrach towards carbon neutrality. Our shared vision is also the basis of the joint effort to ensure security of supply for Italy and Europe, leveraging Algerian gas resources. Algeria and Italy have been trusted partners for decades and will continue to work together towards a just, sustainable and pragmatic energy transition.”
These initiatives are in line with Eni’s wider decarbonisation plan that also includes venting monitoring and zero routine flaring projects, energy efficiency and green hydrogen initiatives. The company aims to add another solar PV facility at the Menzel Ledjmet East Project production complex, also in the Berkine Basin, with construction expected to begin in 2023.
According to the International Trade Association, Algeria has the tenth-largest proven natural gas reserves globally and has the world’s third-largest untapped shale gas resources.
It also ranks sixteenth in proven oil reserves and exports roughly 60% of its total production (600,000 barrels per day). According to Algeria’s national oil company, Sonatrach, about two-thirds of the Algerian territory remains underdeveloped or unexplored, with an estimated 100 undeveloped discoveries.