ALGIERS, Algeria, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Algeria called on oil and natural gas companies to prepare for an August auction for exploration and exploitation of natural resources in the country.
Sid Ali Betata, director of the National Agency for the Promotion of Hydrocarbon Resources, announced the call for tenders Tuesday, the official Algeria Press Service reported.
The announcement comes one year after terrorists sympathetic with al-Qaida stormed the country's In Amenas natural gas facility, leaving 38 civilians and 29 militants dead.
Algeria has the 10th largest natural gas deposits in the world and is the third-largest gas supplier to Europe. Its exports have been in decline, however, because of lagging foreign investments.
In Amenas has a production capacity of approximately 315 million cubic feet of natural gas per year, its operators Sonatrach, BP and Statoil said.
In terms of oil, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said Algeria had 12.2 billion barrels of proven reserves as of January 2013. The official news agency reported Tuesday the 1.3 billion barrels of oil equivalent produced last year represented a 4 percent decline from the previous year.