Algeria’s Ministry of Energy awarded three exploration licenses out of 10 permits on offer at a public session, said the Head of the licensing committee Djilali Takkherst.

The Sunday round saw a consortium headed by China’s CNOOC (China National Offshore Oil Corporation) wining the Hassi Bir Rekaiz deal, meanwhile a consortium led by Total won the Ahnet filed, and Spanish Repsol and its coalition got hold of the Illizi permit, south east Algeria.

That came in a public session to select the winning companies in a bid round for ten oil and gas deals.

It’s worth mentioning that at the last round of Algerian licensing only four out of 16 permits were granted contracts.

“We are happy with the result, though we wished to award all the 10 permits in offer. It is possible that foreign firms are (undergoing) special circumstances linked to the global downturn and the international gas market,” Algeria’s Energy Minister Chakib Khelil told reporters. “There was a problem with the oil prices last year and this year there is a problem with prices of gas,” he added.

Neither Khelil nor Takherst gave details on the prices for the awarded licenses or investments needed for the exploration operations in the three areas.