Algeria's Sonatrach in talks with Shell, ExxonMobil on shale gas

ALGIERS, July 11 Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:21pm EDT

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ALGIERS, July 11 (Reuters) - Algeria has started talks with Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil on shale gas exploration in the North African country, the head of state energy firm Sonatrach said on Wednesday.

Italy's Eni last year signed an agreement with Sonatrach to help carry out shale gas exploration.

"We are in talks with Shell and Exxon," Sonatrach Chief Executive Abdelhamid Zerguine told a news conference.

Sonatrach officials previously said several foreign companies were willing to invest in Algeria's shale gas sector.

Algeria wants to develop technology-intensive shale gas and offshore production to help ensure security of supply in the long run, and it currently favours allowing foreign oil majors to help achieve those goals.

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