File Photo: Egypt's Zohr gas Field (Photo: Ahram)
Egypt's Ministry of Petroleum says that the country achieved self sufficiency in natural gas consumption in September 2018 due to the gradual increase in local production and the plan to develop major gas fields in the Mediterranean.
The discovery of the large offshore fields has resulted in the halting of natural gas imports for the first time in three years.
The ministry said in a statement that 2018 witnessed remarkable achievements and improvements in the oil and gas sector.
"Natural gas has been extended to more than 1 million residential units in 72 highly-populated cities and villages across Egypt in 2018," the statement read.
"As many as 18,784 cars have been adjusted to operate with natural gas during the period between January and November 2018."
One-hundred new gas stations also became operational in 2018.
Steps have also been taken to implement a phosphoric acid production complex worth $750 million in the New Valley governorate. The facility is estimated to produce 1 million tonnes of phosphoric acid per year.
This year also witnessed the continued increase in oil and gas production, which achieved the unprecedented level of 6.6 billion cubic metres (BCM) per day.
The ministry expects Egypt's natural gas production to stand at 6.750 BCM by the end of 2018.
According to the statement, 2018 saw 61 different oil and gas explorations –43 for oil and 18 for gas – which has contributed to increasing the country's energy reserves.
The ministry stated that Egypt has reached an average production of 660,000 oil and oil condensates daily in 2018.
Last October, Petroleum Minister Tarek El-Molla announced that Egypt was no longer importing liquefied natural gas, saving the government EGP 3 billion that had been earmarked annually to meet local demands.
The savings are in large measure due to the massive offshore gas field Zohr, which began operation in December 2017. Zohr, with reserves of more than 30 trillion cubic feet (tcf), is among the largest gas fields discovered so far in the Mediterranean.
The field's output is central to the government’s plans not only to become self-sufficient but to transform Egypt into a regional energy hub.
Zohr’s discovery in 2015 offered the Egyptian government more than a breathing space to save on imports. The field will bring in much needed hard currency when Egypt starts exporting gas, which it is slated to do by 2019 when output from other gas fields comes online.