A host of engineers, welders and painters are putting the final touches to the new Sahaha pipeline terminal at Bougie, Algeria, to be officially opened by French Premier Debre Dec. 5.
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Background: A host of engineers, welders and painters are putting the final touches to the new Sahaha pipeline terminal at Bougie, Algeria, to be officially opened by French Premier Debre Dec. 5.
Installations at Bougie include two puning stations, a quay for oil tankers, and eight huge storage tanks, each with a capacity of 35 million litres. Police with well-trained dogs guard the area, and barged wire fences around the base of each tank.
A 24-inch pipeline, covering a distance of 400 miles and capable of carrying 4 million tons of oil a year, will bring the first oil all the way from the French Saharan oilfields at Hassi Nessaoud, to the Mediterranean coast. By 1962, when two more pumping-stations have been added, capacity willrise to 14 million tone a year.
This is a great improvement on heretofore existing arrangements whereby a temporary pipe-line connected the fields with a railhead at Tougourt, whence the oil has had to be taken by rail tanker to Philippeville and shipped to Marseilles.
Hassi Messaoud field, Although the largest so far known in Africa, is not the only one to have been discovered and exploited in the Sahara. A complex of fields at Edjele, Zarsaitine and Tigentourine, near the Libyan border, will be connected by pipe-line with La Shkira on the Gulf of Gabes in Tunisia, within the next three years. Oil has also been struck at Bordj Nili, 200 miles south of Algiers; at El Gassi, south-west of Hassi Messaoud; and in a new field, Ouan Taredseli, near Edjele. Exploration and drilling are going ahead in many other parts of the Sahara.
The present known reserves of Hassi Messaoud are put at 500 million tons, these at Adjele at 150 million, French Minister for Sahara Affairs, Soustelle, has given an estimate of the Sahara's total oil reserves, - at least 700 million tons. On present calculations France should next year import 8 to 10 million tons of oil from the Sahara, and double this amount in 1961. In 1963, if all goes well, France should become self-sufficient in petroleum products, and switch from being a net importer to a net exporter.