Egypt’s Ministry of Petroleum plans to add 17 new natural gas wells to its production grid in an attempt to increase the daily production of gas by nearly one billion cubic feet, reported the state-owned Al-Ahram news website Sunday.
According to Sherif Ismail, minister of petroleum, drilling the wells will start in September and is expected to cost $2.4 billion.
Earlier this week, Ismail told Reuters that two new natural gas fields — different from the aforementioned — will start production in June and August to support the national gas grid.
The ministry forecasts total natural gas production to increase 1.7 percent to reach 5.4 billion cubic feet per day in the coming fiscal year 2014/15 compared to the current fiscal year, while consumption is projected to increase 12.5 percent to amount to 5.57 billion cubic feet per day in the same period.
Egypt has suffered an energy crisis in the past three years, most evident in frequent electricity blackouts. Several government officials have attributed the power cuts to a growing fuel subsidies bill and declining gas production.
The Cabinet's Information and Decision Support Centre (IDSC) showed in its latest reports that Egypt's production of natural gas fell by more than 13 percent in March 2014 to 3.2 million tons compared to the same period a year earlier, while local consumption of natural gas fell 3.6 percent in the same period to reach 3.1 million tons.
Natural gas exports dropped 76 percent annually to record $46 million in March, IDSC added