CEO of Algerian state power company Sonatrach said they will continue with shale gas exploration plans despite persistent protests by residents and environmental activists.

BloombergBusiness reports that Said Sahnoun believes that the country’s economy would be impacted should they stop drilling and he assured communities that Sonatrach had their best interests at heart.

“Requesting to stop shale gas drilling means to stop petroleum activity in Algeria. We [Sonatrach] will never carry out activities that can harm the population’s health or the environment”, Sahnoun said.

Algeria has an abundance of natural gas reserves but in order to meet population growth and power demand the country will need to continue tapping into and exploring available deposits.

According to Sahnoun, the country will need 55 billion cubic metres of gas in 2025 compared to the current 35 billion cubic metres in 2015.

“Developing unconventional gas resources is a necessity for Algeria in the long run, from 2020 onward, if it wants to remain an important international gas supplier and meet at the same time its growing electricity consumption”, Francis Perrin, director of Paris-based energy consultants Stratener, told Bloomberg in an email.

“Algeria has a programme to develop renewable sources, and nuclear energy is being considered”, Perrin added.

(Pic Credits: worldtribune)

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Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl has been working in the African power, energy and water sectors since 2011, first with African Utility Week and now as the Editor of ESI Africa. She is also an Advisory Board member of the Global and African Power & Energy Elites publications. With her passion for sustainable business and placing African countries on the international stage, Nicolette takes a keen interest in current affairs and technology trends.