Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Wealth Tarek El-Molla -REUTERS
CAIRO – 5 July 2018: Egypt aims to achieve self-sufficiency of natural gas by the end of this year, increasing gas production to 6.5-6.75 billion cubic feet of gas per day, Petroleum Minister Tarek el-Molla said on Thursday.
The minister pointed out that total dues of foreign oil companies operating in Egypt reached LE1.2 billion at the end of last fiscal year, the lowest level since June 30, 2010.
Egypt has started earlier this year the test production from the Mediterranean’s largest gas field Zohr Saturday, with a production capacity of 300-500 million cubic feet a day. The field is expected to save Egypt some $1 billion annually in gas imports and help it achieve self-sufficiency of natural gas.
Discovered in 2015 by Italian energy company Eni, Zohr gas field has an area of 100 square meters at a depth of 1,450 meters. Investing around $10 billion in the project, Eni is estimating total output of the field to be approximately 30 trillion cubic feet of gas.
Amid the rapid increase of gas production in Egypt, the country may stop importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Q4 2018 and start exporting it at the beginning of 2019, El Molla said.
Egypt used to be a net gas exporter but the country’s consumption outweighed production for the first time in over a decade in 2015.
Eni discovered Zohr in August 2015, a field with estimated gas reserves of 850 billion cubic meters.
El Molla said that Zohr will boost gas production from 1.2 billion cubic feet to 1.7 billion cubic feet a day (bcf/d) by August 2018. In addition, Eni is planning to increase Zohr production to 2 bcf/d by the end of 2018. Currently, the country’s total output is 6 bcf/d and will increase to 6.5 bcf/d by September, El Molla added.
The oil ministry is planning to start compensating companies that have rights to operate the country’s LNG export terminals, including Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Union Fenosa SA when the country has sufficient surplus. “The first thing we will do once we have a surplus, we will supply our partners with some of those quantities,” El Molla stated.
Egypt produces 5.1 billion cubic feet of gas daily after several fields have started production. The country consumes around six billion cubic feet of gas a day, 65 percent of which go to the electricity sector.