HASSI MESSAOUD, Algeria Feb 24 Algeria's
biggest oilfield Hassi Messaoud is currently capping production
at 430,000 barrels per day to keep it in line with OPEC's
agreement to cut output, a Sonatrach official said late on
Algeria, a major gas supplier to Europe, last year began
investing in improving yields at mature fields like Hassi
Messaoud and bringing delayed gas fields online in the south,
aiming to reverse stagnant energy production.
"We could have done more, we could produce more oil, but we
must respect our quota," Hassi Messaoud's production chief Ali
Neghmouche told Reuters at the field.
The North African OPEC member was hit hard by the crash in
global oil prices, which hammered its energy revenues. It has
been working to increase output, and trim its budget. Oil and
gas earnings make up 60 percent of state spending.
Algeria's total oil output was previously estimated at 1.1
million bpd, but it has cut production by 50,000 barrels to
adhere to an agreement by OPEC members to trim output. That deal
should end in June if it is not extended to the end of this
Neghmouche said Algeria was taking the OPEC quota deal as an
opportunity to also do some maintenance on Hassi Messaoud
"We have 1,500 wells and we continue to dig in the Hassi
Messaoud region," he said.
(Reporting by Lamine Chikhi; Editing by Patrick Markey and