ALGIERS, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- Algerian oil giant Sonatrach announced on Monday that it is planning to begin offshore oil drilling in 2019.
"We will soon be launching the first exploration activities at sea, and this is a very important step for Sonatrach," said state-run Algeria Radio Channel 3, quoting Sonatrach's CEO Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour.
He assumed that "based on preliminary studies, this operation should be successful."
Ould Kaddour said earlier this year that offshore oil upstream reached the stage of geophysical assessment, notably in the seaside provinces of Bejaia, 250 km northeast of the capital Algiers, and Oran, 400 km northwest of Algiers.
Sonatrach said last February that it has earmarked an investment budget worth 56 billion U.S. dollars for the development of the energy sector from 2018 to 2022.