Total in Algeria


CFP owns 50% of the Société Algérienne des pétroles Mory (Algerian Society of Mory oil)


Creation of SN Répal


Discovery of the giants oilfields of Hassi Messaoud and Hassi r'Mel


Creation of CFP-Algérie


Nationalization of CFP-Algérie


Nationalization of oil at 51%

The adventure of Total in Algeria begins in the Saharan sands. A story that looks like an epic and which marks the birth of the French Exploration-Production industry.


1935 - 1962

  • 1935, The PSC becomes a shareholder of SAPM (Algerian Petroleum Company Mory), of which it takes 50%, and which brings an international outlet for bunkering in Alger.

Mory & cie fuel oil station
Mory & cie fuel oil station. DR TOTAL *
  • 1946, Creation of the SN Repal (National Society for Petroleum Research and Exploitation in Algeria). The BRP holds 50% and the rest is in the hands of the General Government of Algeria. Its president is Roger Goetze

Exploration in Sahara by CFP and SN Repal
Exploration in Sahara by CFP and SN Repal. © Bruderer Willy - Total *
  • 1949, SN REPAL and the PSC apply for authorization to explore in the northern Sahara

  • 1952, The PSC and SN REPAL receive twenty-four licenses in the Sahara

  • 1953, Constitution of PSC-Algeria, a subsidiary of the PSC (Total)
    Creation of CREPS, in which French public companies (Autonomous Petroleum Board and Petroleum Research Bureau) have 65% and Shell 35%

Map of licences of the CFP and SN Repal Algeria
Map of licences of the CFP and SN Repal Algeria. DR TOTAL *
  • 1956, Discovery of Edjeleh deposits by CRAPS, Hassi Messaoud and Hassi r'Mel by SN Repal associated with CFP-A

Visit of General De Gaulle in Hassi Messaoud
Visit of General De Gaulle in Hassi Messaoud. DR TOTAL *
  • 1958, First evacuation of crude Messaoud, transported to Philippeville by a small pipe (the Baby pipe) and loaded on a ship of the Naval Oil to be treated in Provence refinery (La Mede)
    Construction of Hassi Messaoud - Bougie pipeline

Building of the pipe-line between Hassi Messaoud and Bougie
Building of the pipeline between Hassi Messaoud and Bougie. © Dimitri Dimka for Villa Melia - Total  *
  • 1959, Organization of gas valorization in Hassi r'Mel: creation of COMES and SEGANS by French companies

Hassi Rmel general view of the Gulliver Mast bi-beam probe
Hassi Rmel general view of the Gulliver Mast bi-beam probe. DR TOTAL *

Inauguration of the Haoud el Hamra line - Bougie

Inauguration of the pipeline between Hassi Messaoue and Bougie
Inauguration of the pipeline between Hassi Messaoue and Bougie. © Dimka Dimitri - Total  *

Creation of the SRA (Company of the refinery of Algiers) with as shareholders the CFP (20%), the CFR (12%), the Repal (10%), Shell and its subsidiary Beryl (24%), BP (10 , 3%) and Mobil (6%)


  • 1960, CREPS puts into production Zarzaïtine and Edjeleh

  • 1962, Start of construction of a liquid methane plant in Arzew (CAMEL)
    March 18, Evian agreements, approved on April 8 by referendum

1963 - 1986

  • 1963, Commissioning of the Alger Refinery

Inauguration by Bachir Boumaza of the Algiers Refinery
Inauguration by Bachir Boumaza (the Algerian minister for national economy) of the Alger Refinery. © "LE PEUPLE" photography - Total *


Commissioning of the Hassi r'Mel gas liquefaction plant in Arzew, carried out by CAMEL, a company formed by Repal (17%), BRP (10%), CFP-A (11%) , Air Liquide (6%) and French financial companies, Conch (a Shell Canada company and Continental O & G, which had gas liquefaction and transportation patents) at 50%. The Algerian state takes 20% of the Camel

Gas-to-liquids plants
Gas-to-liquids plant of Camel in Arzew. DR TOTAL *

Creation of Sonatrach (December)


  • 1965, July 29, Franco-Algerian oil agreement
    Creation of ASCOOP by France and Algeria: it provides Algerians with assistance in the prospection and exploitation of hydrocarbons in their country
    Creation of Sopefal (French oil company in Algeria), a subsidiary of ERAP (100%). It joins ASCOOP and brings it the mining interests of the ERAP companies 


  • 1966, May 4, creation of the Sofrepal (French company for the research and the exploitation of the oil in Algeria) between the Erap, Cofirep, Genarep, Finarep, Repfrance, company in charge of managing the goods of REPAL in the continuation of the Franco-Algerian oil agreement
    In accordance with the Franco-Algerian oil agreement, the CFP-A has brought its exploration licenses to Sopefal


  • 1967, Creation of Somalgaz, with shareholders Sonatrach (50%), CFP and ERAP (50%) for the marketing of Algerian gas. This creation allows the launch of the construction of a liquefaction plant in La Skikda
    June 16th, Franco-Algerian agreement for the marketing of gas, France pledging to buy 3.5 Gm3 per year for fifteen years.


  • 1968, Production of Haoud Berkaoui (oil), which will produce this year 1968 1 MT / year, of which 1/3 for CFP-A


Oil Field of Haoud Berkaoui
Oil Field of Haoud Berkaoui. © Dimka Dimitri - Total *

Algeria regains control over Camel, whose headquarters will have to leave Paris for Algiers and whose president will not be French anymore

  • 1971, Very big changes in the Elf and Total companies following the Algerian nationalizations (February 24, 100% for gas, 51% for oil). 
    Co-production agreements are concluded with Sonatrach in December: CFP and Elf-Erap will retain an annual withdrawal fee of 5 MT against 16 in 1970.
    Total Algerie, a company under Algerian law, a wholly owned subsidiary of the CFP-A, now holds the Group's interests in the Sahara, ie 49% of ALREP and 31.1% of Berkaoui - Ben Khala. ALREP is a company under Algerian law that has been substituted for the CFP-A. CFP-A has no interest in Hassi r'Mel and has sold its interest (8.80%) in CAMEL (Algerian Liquid Methane Company), which manages Arzew.
    Elf Algeria, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Erap, will now take care of the Group's activities in Algeria.
    In February, the nationalization of the majority of French oil interests brings Elf / Erap to withdraw from the country, while the PSC remains.

  • 1973, Total Algérie signs with Sonatrach a new agreement on several blocks in the region of Ouargla. Discover Ouan Dimeta

  • 1975, Total Algérie puts into production the Mereksen field (1,5 MT / year)

  • 1976, Total receives three exploitation mandates on the fields of Mereksen, Stah and Hassi-Messaoud

  • 1980, Total gets four new licenses in Algeria.
    Elf and Sonatrach sign an agreement for exploration (Talemzane)

  • 1981, New positive drilling on Ouan Dimeta

  • 1983, Discovery of Sif Fatima

  • 1984, Oil discovery at Bir Berkine, confirmed in 1986

  • 1986, At the end of rights, Total makes its permits in Algeria

1987 - 1999

  • 1990, Under a broad agreement with Sonatrach, Total enters two PSC.
    Maersk enters the Algerian upstream, obtaining a stake in several onshore licenses, in the Berkine basin

  • 1991, Total signs a technical cooperation agreement with Sonatrach in Algeria: the Group will help exploit the Hamra deposit in return for rights to LPG and condensate production equivalent to 15 MT

  • 1995, Production begins in Hamra

Manifolds of Hamra field
Manifolds of Hamra field. ©Marco Dufour - TOTAL *
  • 1996, Total signs a PSC for the development of Tin Fouye Tabankort

  • 1999, Start of production of Tin Fouyé Tabankort

    Since 2000

    • 2002, Entry on the Timimoun permit

    • 2004, Discovery of natural gas in the Timimoun permit

    Sight of a gas field of Timimoun
    Sight of a gas field of Timimoun. © Razimbaud A. - TOTAL *
    • 2007, Total and Sonatrach join forces to build a vast petrochemical complex in Arzew

    • 2009, Total wins the tender for the development of Ahnet

    • 2014, Total makes Ahnet's license

    • 2018, Start of production of the Timimoun gas field

    This photo comes from the Total Historical Archives collection