Algeria’s gas exports including natural gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) are expected to increase from 54bm³ in 2016 to 56bm³ in 2017, up by 5.5%, announced Sonatrach’s Deputy CEO and Chief Marketing Officer, Omar Maliou. LNG exports are expected to hit 17bm³ of gas equivalent against 39bm³ for natural gas, Algeria Press Service reported.

In related news, Sonatrach restarted operations at its Skikda LNG export facility in late January, as informed by Platts. The 4.7mmt/y plant went down at the end of December 2016 due to a heat exchanger issue. However, Sonatrach was meeting its contractual supply obligations by sending LNG from the smaller Arzew export plant.

Accordingly, Sonatrach’ CEO, Amine Mazouzi, strongly criticized alleged comments that the break in LNG supplies from Algeria to southwestern France , due to the maintenance work at Skikda, added to a natural gas shortage in France.

“Algeria is a reliable supplier of gas,” Mazouzi said. “We have fulfilled all our commitments and responded to all requests agreed upon between [Sonatrach and French customer Engie], particularly in January and even during the technical shutdown of the liquefaction unit at Skikda.”