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Image courtesy of Øyvind Hagen/Statoil.

Royal Dutch Shell and Norway’s Statoil won a new onshore exploration license in Algeria Tuesday to explore in the southeastern region of the country.

The license covers an area of about 1,054 square feet in Timissit, located in the Illizi-Ghadames Basin.

Statoil said there is a “potentially large shale resource play” in the license.

Statoil bid in partnership with Shell, with Statoil serving as the operator holding a 30 percent stake.

Shell will hold a 19 percent equity stake and Algeria’s state owned Sonatrach will hold a 51 percent stake.

The first exploration phase in the new license is expected to last up to 2017 and will include the drilling of two new wells along with seismic survey acquisition.

“The large shale potential in Algeria may become an increasingly important component of the country’s gas exports to Europe in the future,” Statoil said.

The award is part of the Algerian Ministry of Energy and Mines, National Agency for Hydrocarbon Resources Valorization’s fourth international bid round that was launched in January 2014.

Statoil currently has stakes in the In Salah dry gas and In Amenas gas and condensate fields near the new license. BP and Sonatrach also hold stakes in In Salah and In Amenas fields.