The headquarters of the Italian Eni gas company in Rome (Reuters)
Egypt has granted Italy's Eni the development lease for its giant Zohr gas field, the company announced on Sunday.
"The Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources has approved that the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) grants Eni the Zohr Development Lease, which, following the contractual framework definition, allows for the development of the gas field located in the Shorouk Concession, offshore Egypt," said Eni.
The discovery of the super massive natural gas field by Eni last August was hailed as a game-changer for Egypt, which has been importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) to meet domestic demand as local gas production slowed following the 2011 uprising that toppled president Hosni Mubarak.
"The development plan envisages the start of production by the end of 2017, just two years after the discovery, with a progressive ramp up until reaching a volume of about 75 million standard cubic metres of gas per day (equivalent to approximately 500,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day) by 2019," Eni said in a press release.
Egypt consumed 35 million tonnes of natural gas in the last fiscal year according to Minister of Petroleum Tarek El Molla, 62 percent of which were used for power generation.