Algeria has nearly completed repairs of the In Amenas gas plant, damaged a year ago by Islamists, and said the plant will be operating at full capacity within weeks.
The gas plant used to produce about 11.5 per cent of Algeria’s natural gas, forcing the country to reduce its gas export after the attack on the facility that claimed lives of 40 mostly foreign workers between 16 and 20 January 2013.
"Two thirds of the capacity is already on stream and the last unit will start in a few weeks so In Amenas will be back at full capacity in a few weeks," Ali Hached, senior adviser to Algeria's energy minister, said during a conference in London on Tuesday.
Engineers are currently fixing the plant’s third processing unit which will allow increasing the capacity from current 20 million cubic meters to 30 million cubic metres per day.
The plant, operated jointly by Norwegian company Statoil, BP and Algeria’s state-owned firm Sonatrach, was attacked by al-Qeada-related militants who raided the facility and took 800 domestic and international workers hostage. The siege ended after four days with an intervention of Algeria's military forces.
Following the incident, BP said it won’t go ahead with the previously planned expansion of the In Amenas gas plant and also shelved the project to expand another Algerian site in In Salah.
Despite Algeria saying new security measures will be in place at the desert complex, BP has not yet sent its foreign contractors back to the plant.
Statoil said in November some of its staff had returned on a permanent basis to its operational centre at Hassi Messaoud, some 700 km (435 miles) to the southeast of Algiers but that it would take more time to return to In Amenas.