Giant oil platform heads from Tunisia to southern Algeria
A 40-vehicle convoy carrying a dismantled 600 ton oil drilling platform set out from Tunisia on Tuesday on a 400-kilometre (250-mile) desert trail to southern Algeria where it will be assembled and put into operation.
The caravan was carrying seven main elements of the 55 million dollar platform which will measure nine meters (30 feet) high and eight meters horizontally when assembled, the official Tunisian agency TAP reported.
The company transporting the load checked out infrastructures in advance so as to cause no damage to highways or electricity or telephone lines along the route.
The platform arrived in the southern Tunisian Mediterranean free port of Zarzis last month after seeing service in the United Arab Emirates.
Zarzis has become a focus for companies specializing in oil transport and petroleum engineering, with companies in the service, trade and industrial sectors providing employment for more than 450 workers.
A delegation is expected to arrive soon from Houston, Texas, to inspect the Zarzis facilities and discuss implementing joint US-Tunisian oil partnership projects, TAP also reported.
A US group is planning to build prefabricated workshops to be moved from Zarzis to various north African oilfields.
Tunisia, sandwiched between Algeria and Libya, has a population of 9.5 million concentrated on the east coast and in urban centers.
Oil is a main mineral resource, with 3.5 million tonnes produced annually. Algeria is the biggest country in the swathe of north Africa known as the Maghreb, with an area of more than two million square kilometres.
Oil and gas exports account for 95 percent of its export earnings and 25 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Oil production is around 730,000 barrels a day. — (AFP)
©Agence France Presse
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