Algeria plans to spend millions of dollars searching for oil along the Moroccan border in its western region, an area long considered too dangerous because of the countries’ dispute over Western Sahara. The decision is part of Algeria’s plan to develop new wells to increase its production and exporting of oil and natural gas.
In the first quarter of 2005, oil and gas exports brought about $10 billion into Algeria, a 37 percent increase over the same period a year before. Algeria now produces 1.3 million barrels of oil per day, more than its OPEC quota of 800,000 barrels. In 2001, Algerian oil production was estimated at 1.52 million barrels per day, 12th highest in the world, and in 2002 its estimated
oil exports were 1.25 million barrels per day. Algeria’s estimated
oil reserves in January 2002 were 13.1 billion barrels. The country is also the world’s third-largest producer of natural gas and has the fifth-largest natural gas reserves.
In Morocco, on the other hand, oilfields are still relatively untapped, with drilling not having reached 0.01 well per 100 square kilometers, compared with the international average of 8 wells per 100 square kilometers. Morocco's oil imports and supply of oil stood at $2.6 billion in 2004, a $260 million increase compared to 2003. Moroccan officials say 15 international oil companies are currently prospecting in various regions of Morocco, with investments totaling 50 million euros. In 2001, Morocco’s oil production was 68th in the world at 400 barrels per day. Its estimated oil reserves are 900,000 barrels. Morocco’s natural gas production was estimated at 50 million cubic meters in 2001, and its overall reserves are 665.4 million cubic meters.