Egypt is considering signing a contract with Cyprus to connect the island’s Aphrodite gas field with Egypt to boost gas production in the Mediterranean country.
The Egyptian Petroleum minister Tarek El Molla while speaking at an American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt event in Cairo on Sunday also noted that the transcontinental country is planning a bid round for uncharted offshore areas west of the Nile Delta to the Libyan border, Reuters reported.
“We intend to have a bid round in this area shortly. We may also invite companies to bid for oil and gas exploration in the Red Sea before year-end,” the minister said.
Oil & gas production and the Egyptian economy
Egypt’s economy has a developed energy market based on coal, oil, natural gas, and hydro power with huge reserves of gas, estimated at 2,180 cubic kilometres (520 cu mi) and LNG up to 2012 exported to many countries.
Previously a significant exporter of natural gas via pipeline natural gas and LNG, Egypt had sufficient supplies to export gas by pipeline to Jordan and Israel. Gas shortages, however, began after the 2011 uprising against then president Hosni Mubarak—an ensuring political struggles that led to the loss of tourists and investors, provoking a drop in foreign currency reserves.
After struggling to stay afloat for three years, the North African nation had to give up gas exports in 2014 to meet local demand. Recurring power cuts increased the opposition against Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Mursi, who was toppled by the army in 2013.
Egypt still imports liquefied natural gas (LNG) and, currently, all the natural gas production is distributed for domestic use while a portion of production will be directed for exports to fulfill Egypt’s earlier commitments to other countries, noted El-Molla.
He said: “We will keep one of the two floating storage regasification units (FSRUs) that we currently possess as they can be a vital arm in the country’s dreams to become a regional natural gas hub, especially for private LNG imports.”
In 2017, however, the Egyptian Oil and Gas industry witnessed an increase of natural gas production with the addition of 1.6bn standard cubic feet per day (scf/day). Increase in the country’s natural gas production is as a result of production from newly discovered Zohr, Nooros, Taurus, Libra, and Atoll gas fields.
“Egypt’s total natural gas production has reached the 5.5bn scf/day mark in 2017, and it is expected to reach 6bn scf/day before the end of 2018,” El Molla said during a press conference at the flagging off ceremony of the Egypt Petroleum Show 2018. Egypt intends to speed up gas production from recently discovered fields, with an eye to halting imports by 2019.