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Hassi Messaoud oil field, Algeria

Located in the center of Algeria, the Hassi Messaoud oil field is operated by the state-owned company Sonatrach and is the largest oil field in Algeria.


Located in the center of Algeria, the Hassi Messaoud oil field, which was discovered in 1956, is the most ancient oil station in the country. It was developed and is currently operated by the Algerian state-owned company Sonatrach and is also the largest oil field in Algeria. The presence of Sonatrach and the oil production activity has been related to different protests over the years.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Hassi Messaoud oil field, Algeria
State or province:Ouargla Province
Location of conflict:Hassi Messaoud
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Oil and gas refining
Specific commodities:Crude oil
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Oil production per day: 350,000 barrels per day

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Project area:130,000
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:40,000 – 50,000
Start of the conflict:01/01/2001
Company names or state enterprises:Sonatrach from Algeria
Relevant government actors:Entreprise nationale des services aux puits (ENSP)
Centre de Développement des Energies Renouvelabes
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML):
Comité national pour la défense des chômeurs (CNDDC)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Industrial workers
Trade unions
Forms of mobilization:Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Hunger strikes and self immolation
Health ImpactsVisible: Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..)
Potential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights
Potential: Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..)
Other socio-economic impactsThere are complaints of bad living conditions
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Violent targeting of activists
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Most of the men carrying out the attacks on the women in 2001 were sentenced in absentia and were not brought to justice. Operations are still going on and unemployed protesters' demands were not heard or implemented. The element of "environmental justice" is not salient in this case.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Centre de Développement des Energies Renouvelables (2013), Réalisation de la Nouvelle ville de Hassi-Messaoud: Lancement des travaux de réalisation, Portail Algérien des Energies Renouvelables, 29 July 2013
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Sonatrach, Nos activitiés
[click to view]

Algeria and big discoveries, Oil and Gas Journal, 13 December 2004
[click to view]

Extraction of Crude Petroleum in Algeria – Overview, Mbendi Information Services
[click to view]

Demonstration over services, jobs kills 2, wounds 25 in Algeria, by MP/KA/HRB, PRESS TV, 29 November 2014
[click to view]

Algeria: two protesters killed in clashes with police, Reuters, AFP, Al-Akhbar English, 29 November 2014
[click to view]

Des chômeurs assiègent la base de Sonatrach à Hassi-Messaoud, by Essaid Wakli, Algerie Focus, 9 December 2014
[click to view]

Algeria: Urgently ensure the protection of women in Hassi Messaoud!, Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML), 15 April 2010
[click to view]

Algeria: Attacks on women in Hassi Messaoud, WLUML
[click to view]

Hassi Messaoud: Les sans-emploi dénoncent la discrimination, by Kaddour Lakhdar, El Watan, 11 December 2014
[click to view]

Des manifestants chargés par les forces de l'ordre, by Houria Alioua, El Watan, 17 December 2014,
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OUARGLA: Des chômeurs de Ouargla marchent vers Hassi Messaoud, Réflexion, 25 February 2013
[click to view]

Le cauchemar des femmes lynchées d'El Haicha, by Anis Allik, L'Express, 12 February 2010
[click to view]

“Nous paralyserons la ville si nous n'avons pas la réponse que nous attendons”, Allal Rouabeh, Petit-fils de Messaoud, fondateur de Hassi Messaoud, by Houria Alioua, El Watan, 14 December 2014
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Sonatrach, Algeria Map
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Other documents
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Meta information
Last update13/10/2015
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