Tunisia should become an exporter of propane during the first quarter of 2009, following development of the offshore Hasdrubal gas/condensate field, according to industry sources quoted by Platt energy websitehttp//www.platts.com/ .
Currently Tunisia imports butane, but does not export any LPG.
The Hasdrubal field is being developed jointly by UK-based BG Group and Tunisia’s state oil company ETAP. Production from the field will be brought by subsea pipeline to an onshore terminal close to Sfax, where the gas stream will be separated into natural gas, propane, butane and condensate.
The propane and butane will then be transported 120 km to the Tunisian port of Gabès, initially by truck but then by pipeline, where new storage is under construction. Gabès is already used as an import terminal for butane.
Peak production from Hasdrubal should be reached in 2010 and is forecast to be about 90,000 mt/year of propane and about 45,000 mt/year of butane. The butane will be used internally to help meet domestic requirements, but there is insufficient demand within Tunisia for the propane, which will be exported in coaster cargo lots of approximately 1,600-1,800 mt.
According to industry sources a tender for the propane exports was awarded, but details were kept private and confidential.
In a separate development, trading sources said late last week that all of Tunisia’s butane imports in 2009 will be delivered by Algeria’s state oil company Sonatrach from its own production, whereas in 2008 butane deliveries were split between Sonatrach and trading company Petredec whose much of the butane bound for Tunisia is loaded from the
French Mediterranean port of Lavera.