The logo of Italian energy company Eni is seen at an Agip gas station in Lugano (Reuters)
Egypt’s petroleum ministry, the Italian energy company Eni and British Petroleum signed a deal in Cairo to complete the sale of a 10-percent stake in the "super-giant" Zohr gas field in the Shorouk concession, off Egypt’s shores, to BP.
In a press statement on Monday, Eni said that the Italian company and BP first agreed on the sale of the concession stake in November 2016.
Zohr, discovered by Eni in August 2015, is the largest gas field in the Mediterranean, estimated to contain 850 billion cubic metres of gas.
Eni, through its subsidiary IEOC, now holds a 90 percent stake in the licence, while Rosneft has agreed to acquire a 30 percent stake, subject to Egyptian governmental approval.
During a meeting with President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in January, Eni’s CEO confirmed that the development of Zohr is progressing very quickly, having been fast tracked, and that the start of production is confirmed for 2017, just two years after the discovery was made.
In the January meeting, the CEO said that Italian energy company plans to increase its energy exploration investments in Egypt to $3.5 billion in 2017. Eni’s CEO also met with El-Sisi during this visit in February.
The signing took place in Cairo in the presence of the Prime Minister Sherif Ismail.
In late December, Eni signed two new concession agreements with the Egyptian government for gas exploration in two Mediterranean fields.
Eni has been operating in Egypt since 1954 through its subsidiary International Egyptian Oil Company (IEOC), with an equity production of approximately 230,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.
Egypt’s production of natural gas is currently estimated at around 4.4 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd), and is expected to increase by 1.5 bcfd by the end of 2017, according to a statement from the petroleum ministry last week.
In May 2016, the ministry expected production to range between 5.5 and 6 bcfd by the end of 2019.