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BECHTEL TO BEGIN WORK ON MAGHREB-EUROPE GAS PIPELINE

 HOUSTON, Aug. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Bechtel announced today that it has signed a lump-sum contract valued in excess of $450 million with Sonatrach, the state-owned petroleum company of Algeria, to perform engineering, procurement and construction on the 330-mile (530-kilometer) Algerian portion of the 48-inch-diameter Maghreb-Europe natural gas pipeline.
 The total Maghreb-Europe gas pipeline system will run from Hassi R'Mel, Algeria's main gas field in the Sahara desert, across northern Morocco, under the Strait of Gibraltar to Cordoba, Spain, where it will tie into the Spanish gas transmission network. Ultimately, the system may be expanded to provide natural gas to Portugal, France and Germany.
 Enagas, the Spanish state-controlled gas company, will be awarding construction work on the Moroccan and Spanish portions of the pipeline later this year.
 "When Maghreb-Europe is completed in 1996, it will be a strategic pipeline system to supply natural gas to Europe and the first large transmission pipeline across Morocco," said Mike Thiele, Bechtel senior vice president and manager of the company's Pipeline and Industrial business line. "Initially, the pipeline will carry 700 million standard cubic feet of gas per day, increasing ultimately to 1.8 billion standard cubic feet per day as gas compressors are added along the line."
 Detailed engineering for the Algerian portion will begin this summer in Bechtel's Houston office. According to Armel Morvan, Bechtel's project manager, construction camps will be set up in summer 1994 and field construction will begin in the fall. Peak construction personnel is expected to reach 2,000. "The terrain is rugged desert, mostly rock, with temperatures reaching 110 degrees in summer and freezing in the winter," he said.
 Bechtel's contract also includes installing a fiber optic-based telecommunication and control system along the pipeline route.
 Bechtel Financing Services Inc. arranged for project financing through the U.S. Export-Import Bank and through COFACE of France and HERMES of Germany, both export credit agencies.
 Since the 1960s, Bechtel has worked on more than 50 contracts with Sonatrach, the most recent one being the current renovation and expansion of the Arzew liquefied natural gas complex.
 Founded in 1898, Bechtel is one of the world's leading engineering, construction, management and environmental companies. The headquarters for its petroleum operations are in Houston; other major pipeline offices are in London and San Francisco. The company has designed, managed and constructed more than 50,000 miles (80,000 kilometers) of global petroleum and related pipeline systems worth more than $20 billion(U.S.).
 -0- 8/4/93
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: A map of the pipeline route is available upon request./
 /CONTACT: Cindy Delulio, 713-235-3547, or John Gersuk, 713-235-3968, both of Bechtel/


CO: Bechtel; Sonatrach ST: Texas, California IN: OIL CST SU: CON

GT-TM -- SF008 -- 9451 08/04/93 14:42 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 4, 1993
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