Hydrocarbon exploration: Strategic study on environmental impact assessment to be finalised in 2018 | Tunisia News Gazette

Hydrocarbon exploration: Strategic study on environmental impact assessment to be finalised in 2018

“A strategic study on the environmental and economic impact assessment of the exploration and production of hydrocarbons from non-conventional deposits, including Shale gas, will be finalised by September or October 2018,” said Chairman of the House of People’s Representatives (HPR) Committee on Industry, Energy, Natural Resources, Infrastructure and Environment Ameur Larayedh.

The ongoing study is conducted by a Tunisian and a Canadian consultancy firms; its results will help Tunisia decide whether or not to take this approach, he told participants in the 6th SUD.SEC.MED symposium held Saturday in Tunis on the theme: “Energy Security in the Mediterranean.”

Tunisia, which posted a significant energy deficit, is pursuing a policy that rests on the optimal exploitation of conventional resources and search for sustainable energy solutions, such as renewables, Larayedh indicated.

The natural gas field Nawara, southern Tunisia, will come on stream in 2019 rather than 2018, as initially scheduled, as a result of delays caused essentially by protests.

Tunisia is lagging behind targets set, including a 12% renewable energy share in 2020 and 30% by 2030. This concern can be mended if efforts and investments are scaled up.

The results of the first tender for renewable energy-based electricity production, which saw the participation of 69 firms, will be announced in the coming weeks, the Committee Chair said. Other calls for tenders will be launched in December or in January at the latest.

Director General of Hydrocarbons at the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Renewable Energies Mohamed Ali Khalil said paralysed production in oil fields in southern Tunisia from May to August 2017 caused losses estimated at 930 MTD.

Hydrocarbon reserves in Tunisia do not exceed 0.8 billion oil-equivalent barrels, far below neighbour countries’. The Energy Independence Index stood at 59% in 2016 and is expected to reach projections of 52% in 2017. The State oil receipts fell 71% over the last five years from 3054 MTD in 2012 to 856 MTD in 2016.

The number of exploration permits dropped from 50 in 2012 to 26 in 2016 and 23 in 2017, including the new licenses of Nefzaoua and Douiret granted last June.

Investments also showed a downward trend (-51%) in comparison with the period spanning 2006 to 2011; national hydrocarbon resources posted an annual 6% decrease in the 2010-2016 period as a result of the natural decline of oil fields.

Meanwhile, demand for primary energy rose 2% annually between 2010 and 2016. It will probably be the same pattern in 2017, Khalil said.

Given the state of affairs, the national strategy provides for developing national resources by means of encouraging exploration in untapped areas (the north and the midland), considering the possibility of resorting to unconventional energies, improving energy efficiency, rationalising energy sector compensation and boosting renewables, the official highlighted.

The symposium was organised by the Centre for Mediterranean and International Studies and Konrad Adenauer Foundation.

Source: TAP News Agency

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