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Egypt plans global petroleum and gas drilling auction for southern, Red Sea areas in 2018

Ahram Online , Monday 1 Jan 2018
Petroleum Minister El-Molla
File Photo: Egypt's Petroleum minister Tarek El-Molla (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt is planning a 2018 global auction for petroleum and gas drilling in the country’s southern and Red Sea areas, Petroleum Minister Tarek El-Molla announced in Monday.

El-Molla said Egypt will witness the first auction in the designated areas as soon as the two areas’ geophysical data are collected.

He added that 12 new gas deals with investments worth $433 million as a margin were currently being prepared.

The minister also highlighted Egypt's 2018 goal of reaching self-sufficiency in liquified natural gas (LNG) supply, achievement of which is set to follow the completion of the first stage of super-giant Zohr gas field and the second stage of North Alexandria and western Mediterranean (Giza and Fayoum) gas fields.

El-Molla said that 2018 will also witness the finalization of Northern Damietta’s offshore gas field, Atoll, which was discovered by British Petroleum (BP) in March 2015 and approved between BP in collaboration with Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) in June 2016.

Last December, experimental production began at Zohr at an initial 350 million cubic feet per day (mcfd), an event eagerly awaited since the field was discovered by Italian energy company Eni in 2015.

The mammoth gas field’s production will increase to 1 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) by June 2018, as the first phase is finalized, allowing Egypt to achieve self-sufficiency in LNG supply.

Egypt was a net exporter of LNG until 2014. However, it became a net importer in recent years due to a declining output and power shortages amid political turmoil.

In October, El-Molla announced that $27.3 million would be invested in three Egyptian natural gas fields – Zohr, North Alexandria, and Nooros – during 2018.

The three gas fields are expected to raise Egypt's natural gas output by 50 percent in 2018 and 100 percent in 2020, according to the ministry.

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