Egypt’s natural gas reserves are expected to increase by roughly 1.2 trillion cubic feet (TCF) after the latest gas discovery made by British Petroleum (BP) in the country’s East Nile Delta, Al-Ahram daily newspaper reported on Monday.
The country’s gas reserves are currently at 77.2 TCF, an increase from 2010 estimates of 58.5 TCF, representing the third largest in Africa, after Nigeria and Algeria, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
"BP Egypt announced a significant gas discovery in the East Nile Delta. The deepwater exploration well, named Salamat, is the deepest well ever drilled in the Nile Delta," the company said in a statement last week.
According to the Minister of Petroleum, Sherif Ismail, the depth of the well has reached 7000 meters and its drilling costs are $380 million.
The new exploration has encouraged BP to consider drilling a new well, about 75 kilometers (47 miles) north of Damietta city, that will be worth around $360 million.
Egyptian Minister of Finance, Ahmed Galal, said on Sunday that the government wants to encourage foreign oil companies in Egypt to increase exploration and production in exchange for a more rapid repayment of the $6 billion it owes them, Reuters reported.