ALGESCO, a joint company between Sonatrach, Sonelgaz and GE (GE: NYSE) today celebrated the official opening of its new Service Center located in Boufarik, 35 kilometers from Algiers in Algeria.
Covering approximately 18,300 sq. meters, the new facility is the largest GE Oil & Gas turbomachinery equipment service center in the world and represents a US$36 million investment in supporting the continued growth of Algeria's oil and gas and power generation sectors.
Algeria's Minister of Energy and Mines, Mr. Youcef Yousfi performed the official ribbon-cutting at an inauguration event hosted by Mr. Abdelhak Lalouani, General Manager, ALGESCO and Algeria Executive Leader - Global Services, GE Oil & Gas and attended by over 200 VIP customers and dignitaries including Mr. Hocine Ouadah, the Wali of Wilaya of Blida, Mr. Said Sahnoun, Vice-President Sonatrach Amont representing Nouredine Cherouati, President & Chairman of Sonatrach, Mr. Djilali Kinane, Administrator – Sonelgaz Power Generation, representing Noureddine Boutarfa, President & Chairman of Sonelgaz, Mr. Claudi Santiago, President & CEO of GE Oil & Gas and Mr. Smail Bouderba, Region General Manager and Algeria Host Leader, GE Oil & Gas.
Claudi Santiago, President & CEO, GE Oil & Gas said: "This superb new US$36 million investment state-of-the-art Boufarik service center is a credit to the strength of GE's reliable partnership with Sonatrach and Sonelgaz, and demonstrates GE's commitment to Algeria and the region. Working together, the ALGESCO partners will continue to support Algeria's oil and gas sectors with world-class service capabilities, technology transfer, skills development and the creation of local jobs."
A joint venture first established in 1993 in Hassi-R'mell, ALGESCO provides repairs and services for a broad range of turbines, compressors and related equipment for Algeria's dynamic power generation and oil and gas sectors. The new Boufarik service facility will serve as a global 'center of excellence' for turbomachinery services and will provide a wide range of advanced technologies to help Algeria increase its oil and gas capacity and its power generation availability to end users.
The service center's expanded services include restoring gas turbine components to their original conditions, restoring the original physical features of materials, and extending the expected life of gas turbine components. Technology areas to be covered include LNG, pipeline compression, pipeline inspection and integrity, gas and CO2 storage, refinery and petrochemical applications, and around the clock, remote monitoring and diagnostics for GE's installed fleet.
Currently there are 170 Algerian ALGESCO employees, including approximately 90 trained field engineers. A recruitment program for field service engineers, management and shop technicians is designed to enlarge the local team by 30% between now and the end of 2011.
GE has been supporting the Algerian oil and gas industry for more than 45 years and its installed fleet in Algeria includes approximately 400 gas turbines, 340 compressors, 200 centrifugal pumps, 50 steam turbines and 700 kilometers of inspected pipelines, all vital to Algeria's gas exports. The country is the third largest supplier of gas to Europe, accounting for about 20% of imports.
GE gas turbine-driven compressor technology is playing a central role for expansions of Sonatrach's two liquid natural gas production plants at Skikda, 500 kilometers east of Algiers, and Arzew, 400 kilometers west of Algiers.
Sonatrach is the largest Algerian company and the 11th largest oil consortium in the world, while Sonelgaz is the state-owned utility in charge of electricity and gas distribution in Algeria.