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Tunisia to double Algerian gas imports

Tunisia and Algeria signed, at the end of the meeting of Algerian-Tunisian Committee on Energy, a series of agreements aimed at strengthening energy cooperation between the two countries.

Algerian Energy and Mines Minister Chakib Khelil and Afif Chelbi, Tunisian Minister of Industry, Energy and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, who co-chaired the Joint Committee’s meeting in Algiers, have signed the minutes of the meeting relating to the increase of electric power interconnection capacity up to 400 KV as from 2010, against 220 KV currently, in addition to the development of natural gas distribution in Tunisian border towns and villages.
The minutes also include the increasing of the quantity of LPG exported to Tunisia to 300 000 t / year, the establishment of a joint working group to explore opportunities to develop the storage capacity of this gas in Tunisian territory in order to market it locally or to export it to neighbouring countries from Tunisia.

The two sides also signed a memorandum of understanding on exchange of experiences in mastery, use and development of renewable energy including solar.

On the other hand, an agreement of cooperation was signed between Sonatrach and the Tunisian Enterprise of Petroleum Activities (ETAP) pertaining to increasing the quota of Tunisia in the natural gas exported to Italy via the Transmed pipeline from 6 to 7 billion m 3 / year as from next year as well as to strengthening the work of exploration and production of common hydrocarbons in Algeria, Tunisia or to another country.

In a press conference held at the end of the signing of these agreements, Khelil said that the development of bilateral cooperation in the field of hydrocarbons exploration and production hydrocarbons has become a common goal that must be achieved in the short term, highlighting the need to actually implement this commitment through joint projects in Libya, Mauritania, Mali and Niger.

Regarding the enhancement of the capacity of power interconnection between the two countries,. Khelil said that the Tunisian side has completed the work involved in this project, adding that the completion by the Algerian side is scheduled for August. That will increase the volume of exchange of electricity between the two countries to 400 KV as from 2010.
Regarding the scheduled launch of a Euro-Maghreb electricity market, the Minister said that the next meeting of the Maghreb Ministers of Energy  (Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco) in December 2009 in Morocco will  examine the feasibility of this project.
For his part, the Tunisian minister hailed the “excellent” relations of bilateral energy cooperation recalling that Algeria is Tunisia’s exclusive LPG supplier.

“We must raise this cooperation through the development of energy projects in other countries, particularly in exploration, production and storage» said Chelbi.

Regarding renewable energy, the Tunisian Minister stressed his country’s readiness to put its experience at the disposal of the Algerian side as regards the development of solar and wind energy.

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