Groupement Isarene, a joint venture comprising Sonatrach, Petroceltic and Enel, has awarded a drilling rig contract to Sinopec International Petroleum Service for the Ain Tsila gas and condensate field in Algeria.
The rig will drill about 24 new development wells. Approval has already been secured for the first 12 drilling locations in the northern region of the field.
Petroceltic chief executive Brian O'Cathain said: "This award demonstrates the significant progress that Petroceltic and its partners are making towards the development of the world class Ain Tsila gas condensate field."
"The project remains on track to deliver first sales gas in Q4 2018."
Petroceltic holds a 56.625% working interest in the Ain Tsila field, Enel and Sonatrach own 18.375% and 25% stakes respectively.
The field is estimated to hold reserves of 2.1 trillion cubic feet of sales gas, 67 million barrels of condensate, and 108 million barrels of liquid petroleum gas.
The front end engineering and design contract was previously awarded in September 2014 to Chicago Bridge and Iron. It is reported to be progressing well.
The Groupement is now looking to identify companies to perform the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract and an invitation to pre-qualify is expected to be issued in the Algerian Bulletin of Public Tenders in the Energy and Mine Sector.
Brian O'Cathain added: "The next important project milestone will be the launch of the invitation to tender for the EPC contract which we expect to occur in the second quarter of this year. The project remains on track to deliver first sales gas in Q4 2018."