ALGIERS, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia said on Thursday that the relaunch of the proposed shale gas projects will not harm the health of Algerians, according to a statement by the PM.
"The resumption of the projects will be accompanied by explanations to the public and dialogue with the people of the regions concerned. Nothing will be done by endangering the health of the Algerians; nothing will prevent Algeria from exploiting its wealth for the benefit of Algerians," Ouyahia said.
Last Sunday, Ouyahia stressed the need to invest in shale gas given the enormous deposits in the country during his visit to a petrochemical center.
He also noted that the government is encouraging investment in this resource, while stressing that it is not an adventurous step but an option to guarantee the country's energy future.
Energy Minister Mustapha Guitouni last Monday said that the shale gas issue was still in the study stage and will be treated in a "suitable" way like which is being done in other countries.
In 2015, people in southern areas of Algeria expressed their refusal to the government's decision to start exploring shale gas deposits there.
Faced with the discontent of those fearing disastrous impact on the environment and groundwater, the government reassured that it will only launch exploration studies.
According to the assessments carried out by Algerian state-owned oil company Sonatrach with international oil companies on five Saharan basins, Algeria has 4,940 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of reserves of shale gas, of which 740 TCF are recoverable.
Algeria ranks 4th in terms of technically recoverable resources in the world after the United States, China and Argentina, according to a report by the International Energy Agency on shale gas in 2013.