June 11 (UPI) -- French energy company Total said Monday it signed a contract that extends its partnership in a natural gas field in Algeria for the next quarter century.
Total joined Spanish energy company Repsol, the Algerian agency for hydrocarbon resources and state-owned exploration and production company Sonatrach in signing a 25-year extension to tap into the Tin Fouyé Tabankort natural gas and condensate field.
"The partners will carry out the drilling and development investments required to develop additional reserves estimated at more than 250 million barrels of oil equivalent," the French company's statement read. "These investments will allow to maintain the production of the field, which is currently over 80,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day for six years."
The French supermajor last year produced 15,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in Algeria, all of which came from TFT.
In March, the company started production from the Timimoun gas field in southwestern Algeria, which could reach a production level of 176 million cubic feet, or 30,000 barrels of oil equivalent, per day.
Algeria has the 10th-largest natural gas deposits in the world and is the third-largest supplier to Europe. Its exports have been in decline, however, because of lagging foreign investments.
The European Union last year offered $42.7 million in financial assistance to support energy reform in Algeria, which is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. The EU has questioned Algeria's role as a reliable supplier in the past, however.
Four years ago, Algerian government officials said during a U.S. visit that shale oil and natural gas could be a way to add diversity to its energy sector.