Egypt is planning to reduce its liquified natual gas (LNG) imports in the fiscal year 2017-18 thanks to expected production from the Zohr gas field, restricting LNG imports to 80 shipments worth $1.8 billion, an petroleum ministry source told Al-Ahram Arabic website on Monday.
The official said that work on bringing Zohr online was now 86.5 percent complete, with the first production planned for late 2017.
Developing Zohr, a newly discovered super-giant gas field in the Mediterranean, is part of the ministry's overall plan to increase domestic supplies of natural gas, thus reducing reliance on imports.
Egypt's total domestic natural gas production has now reached 5.2 billion cubic feet per day, following the first phase of gas production from the West Delta's Libra and Nawras fields. The two fields produce a combined 700 million cubic feet of gas per day.
The country's total natural gas consumption is about 6 billion cubic feet per day, of which roughly 65 percent is burned in electricity-generation plants.
Discovered in August 2015 by Italian oil company Eni, Zohr is the largest natural gas field ever found in the Mediterranean, with an estimated 850 billion cubic metres of gas.
Zohr is expected to produce some 500 million square feet (46.5 million cubic metres) of gas by the end of 2017, Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi said earlier this year.
Production from the field should help alleviate Egypt's severe energy shortage and save the country billions of dollars spent on imports.