An aircraft flies over a British Petroleum petrol station at Heathrow in London (Photo: Reuters)
British oil major BP will begin production of natural gas at its north Alexandria concession in early 2017 rather than mid-2017, Egypt's petroleum minister Tarek El Molla said at a news conference on Saturday.
The offshore concession's output will be roughly "450 million cubic feet per day in 2017 and reach 1.2 billion cubic feet per day by the end of 2019," said El Molla.
These volumes will mean a significant boost to gas production in Egypt, a country that has been searching for ways to plug acute energy shortages that have slowed production at many of the country's energy-intensive industries.
BP also said this week it had been awarded three new offshore exploration blocks in Egypt and that it and its partners had committed to investment of $229 million.
Egyptian authorities have in recent months worked to improve terms for foreign oil and gas businesses in the hope that more competitive pricing will encourage investment in the energy-hungry country.
Once an energy exporter, falling oil and gas production coupled with rising consumption have forced Egypt to divert supplies to the domestic market and it is now a net energy importer.