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Last Updated: October 2014

Overview


Map of Tunisia
Map of Tunisia
  • Tunisia is a relatively small hydrocarbon producer. Production of petroleum and other liquids has been steadily declining from its peak of 120,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) in the mid-1980s to 60,000 bbl/d in 2013. Tunisia produced 66 billion cubic feet of dry natural gas in 2012.
  • Plans to increase oil and gas production have been hampered by employment-related protests. Some foreign investors have also experienced delays in getting oil and gas development plans approved by Tunisia’s parliament, which has pushed back the anticipated start dates for new production. The main foreign companies operating in Tunisia are the United Kingdom’s BG Group, Italy’s ENI, and Austria’s OMV.
  • According to a recent report sponsored by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Tunisia has two significant shale formations located in the southern part of the country in the Ghadames (or Berkine) basin. Tunisia’s formations are estimated to hold 23 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable shale gas resources and 1.5 billion barrels of technically recoverable shale oil resources.
  • Tunisia has one oil refinery with a crude oil distillation capacity of 34,000 bbl/d, but it is not enough to meet domestic demand, which averaged 90,000 bbl/d in 2013. As a result, Tunisia imports a majority of the petroleum products it consumes. Tunisia has proposed building a second refinery at Skhira with an initial capacity of 120,000 bbl/d, eventually building up to 250,000 bbl/d. The potential investors include the Tunisian government, Qatar Petroleum, and the Libyan government. However, given the unrest and political uncertainty in Libya, it is unlikely that the Libyan government will take part in the project anytime soon.
  • The Trans-Mediterranean Pipeline (also known as Enrico Mattei), which transports natural gas from Algeria to Italy, passes through Tunisia. In lieu of transit fees, Tunisia receives natural gas as a royalty.
  • In 2013, 98% of Tunisia’s electricity generation came from fossil-fueled power stations, with hydroelectric and wind sources supplying only 2% of total generation. However, the Tunisian government aims to produce 11% of electricity from renewable sources by 2016, and 25% by 2030. Tunisia has also committed to be part of the DESERTEC “super-grid” that will connect African and European countries.