US oil giant Chevron is in talks to sign a deal with Algeria to undertake gas exploration work in the North African country, reported the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

The move comes as Algeria looks to replace gas supplies from Russia due to Western sanctions on Moscow following the invasion of Ukraine. 

Furthermore, Chevron appointed undisclosed consultants to assess the shale and non-shale gas resources in the North African country and contractual terms, reported the news agency, citing people familiar with the matter.

According to the Energy Information Administration, Algeria is estimated to hold 707 trillion cubic feet of recoverable shale resources.

A Chevron spokeswoman said the company earlier signed an agreement with the state agency to access data on three of Algeria’s biggest natural-gas reservoirs, namely the Ahnet, Gourara, and Berkine basins.

The spokeswoman added: “Algeria holds a world-class petroleum system, with significant potential for conventional and unconventional oil-and-gas exploration.”

In 2020, Chevron signed a memorandum of understanding with state-run company Sonatrach to explore natural-gas opportunities in Algeria. However, work had been slow until recently.

Chevron CEO Mike Wirth told analysts at the company’s annual results last month: “The region needs gas, both regionally in the Middle East, but also then obviously options to try to get that gas into Europe.”

Chevron, which is planning to invest $17bn in energy projects in 2023, is also in talks to develop a field with a 600,000-barrels-a-day capacity in Iraq.