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    Visnews films this month French progress on pipeline construction in the oil rich Sahara. This?

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    Visnews films this month French progress on pipeline construction in the oil rich Sahara. This year France is investing GBP97M in Saharan oil development. Already from beneath the barren sands, production is two and a half million tons a year.

    Being strung from the principal oil field at Hassi Messaoud, South East of Algiers is a second larger pipeline to the coastal terminal at Bougie at the rate of two to five kilometres a day - depending on the terrain. A small pipeline and railroad is being used at present to carry oil to the coast.

    Giant cranes lay the new pipeline at the M'sila pumping station which will boost the oil flow through the mountain region and over the Col. de Selatna at 1500 metres. As the crow flies, the eighty mile course changes from the M'sila plain to the Col in the Little Atlas Mountains then follows the Soumman Valley to Bougie. Work cannot begin in the valley until the swollen River Soumman returns to its normal level.

    Army sappers are constructing a road at the same time as the pipeline advances northwards to the coast. When completed the road will be used for carrying maintenance engineers to any point along the line needing attention. At present its chief use is to supply the pipe layers with materials, equipment and food.

    Visnews filmed from the air the pumping station and the work going ahead to the Col, then over the Soumman Valley to Bougie where the first stage of building five storage tank is progressing. In all, Bougie will have 12 storage tanks. Oil stored will be pumped through a central station to the port. The first five tanks will be completed by July.

    Oil shipped to the South of France will be piped from Lavera near Marseilles to the Rhine near Strasburg under a plan envisaged by the French Government. At present the Strasburg refineries are mainly served by tankers coming up the Rhine from the North Sea.

    France's investment in the Sahara a large part of which will be covered by private loan capital this year is being divided into GBP30M for exploration, GBP16M for the development of existing oil fields, GBP14M for storage and GBP37M for building the Hassi Messaoud pipeline and a second one for the Edjele oil field on the Libyan border to the South of Tunisia.

    Allowance has also been made for the investment of foreign capital by foreign concern having a stake in the Sahara. No foreign concern can hold more than fifty per cent of shares. One foreign concern already with a stake is the Standard Oil of New Jersey - the biggest oil company in the world.

    Last month, Algeria's North Eastern neighbour, Tunisia, announced its intention to claim a share in the Sahara's oil riches.

    President Habib Bourguiba, oft-time sponsor of the idea that France, Tunisia and Morocco might plan exploitation of the Sahara together for the welfare of all concerned, implied Feb 6 that if the idea was not realised Tunisia might seek an extension of its Southern frontier. This part of the frontier is aline through desert wasteland, drawn while Tunisia was a French Protectorate.

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