Italian energy company Eni have signed a series of agreements with Algerian government-owned company Sonatrach to extend partnership in oilfield projects in the North African country.

Eni said that the agreements are intended to strengthen the integration between the two companies in jointly operated activities in Algeria.

The agreements were signed by Sonatrach CEO Adbelmoumen Ould Kaddour and his Eni counterpart Claudio Descalzi.

Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi said: “The renewed collaboration between our companies, enshrined in today’s agreements, allows Eni to make a further important step forward in a key country like Algeria and to consolidate further our strategic partnership with Sonatrach.

“Furthermore, the forthcoming construction of a renewable energy laboratory and of a photovoltaic plant at the BRN production site is another step in Eni’s decarbonisation process.

“This process includes the development of green businesses through increasing commitment to renewable energy sources and to scientific and technological research.”

Eni has also signed specific agreements with Sonatrach to continue collaboration in the R&D sector. This follows the agreements signed in November 2016.

According to the Italian firm, the ambitious exploration program in the Berkine basin is important as it could lead to the production of new gas reserves through the use and optimization of existing infrastructures.

In Algeria, Eni currently participates in 32 mining permits with an equity production capacity of about 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day.

Earlier this year, Sonatrach and Cepsa agreed to jointly redevelop the onshore Rhoude el Krouf (RKF) oilfield in Berkine basin, Algeria with an investment of about $1bn.

As per the 25-year agreement, the two firms will redevelop the mature oilfield, 19 years after being in production, in a bid to boost crude oil production.

Discovered 25 years ago, the RKF oilfield was the first oilfield to be put into operation by Sonatrach and Cepsa in Algeria.