Egypt’s gas output to get boost, as Zohr fields near peak production

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Officials told Reuters that Egypt’s gas output will get a boost this year, with $1.8 billion in investment from BP and also the country’s huge Zohr field close to peak production.

The development will see Egypt return to export markets and position itself as a regional hub. The country hopes to leverage its strategic location and well-developed infrastructure to become a key international trading and distribution center for gas, a potentially remarkable turnaround for a country that spent about $3 billion on annual liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports as recently as 2016.

The North African country has made a series of big discoveries in recent years, including Zohr, the largest gas field in the Mediterranean, helping to draw back investors that had pulled away after a 2011 uprising led to mounting debt payments.

At an energy forum in Cairo, Petroleum Minister Tarek El Molla said “what we have achieved in only three years has started to attract the attention of everybody — everybody in oil and gas industry, financial organizations … everyone is looking to Egypt with interest”.

To export supplies across the Mediterranean along with that of its neighbors, like Israel, which said it would pipe gas to Egypt later this year, Egypt is now hoping to tap long underutilized liquefaction plants, where gas is turned into LNG.

Egypt imported its final natural gas shipment last September, and said it will begin exporting to Jordan this year, though the exact level of shipments and timeline is still unclear.

BP noted in September 2018, that it will spend about $1.8 billion this year getting several fields online, making Egypt its largest investment destination worldwide for a second year running.

CEO of BP, Bob Dudley, who spoke at a conference said “for the last two years in a row we’ve invested more money in Egypt than in any other country. So this is a deep, deep commitment to Egypt”.

Molla revealed that total production at BP’s West Nile Development will soar to nearly 1.4 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) after the project’s third field, Raven, comes online. About 700 million cubic feet per day will come online by April from the first two, Giza and Fayoum.

Molla also noted that Zhor, Egypt’s top gas asset, which was discovered by Eni in 2015, will near peak production of about 3 bcfd from 2.1 billion currently by the end of 2019, further boosting potential export capacity.

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