Egypt’s Giant Zohr Gas Field Starts Production
Tarek El-Molla, Egypt Minister of Petroleum
London Dec. 17, 2017 (AltAfrika)-Egypt’s Eni SpA-operated Zohr natural gas field has started production, bringing the country closer to its goal of energy self-sufficiency.
“One of the biggest issues Egypt had over the past years was the big shift in its energy balance from a net exporter to a net importer because of an increase in consumption versus a decline in production,” said Mohamed Abu Basha, Cairo-based economist at investment bank EFG-Hermes. “With the new gas finds, it’s returning to this balance, if not exporting, then at least there’s no deficit.”
The North African nation had to give up gas exports in 2014 to meet local demand and because sporadic sabotage on its main pipeline in the Sinai Desert throttled shipments. Zohr, with an estimated reserve of about 850 billion cubic meters of natural gas in place, is expected to close the gap between supply and demand, helping to end Egypt’s reliance on imported LNG next year and may eventually enable a return to exports, El-Molla said last month in an interview.
Russia’s state-owned producer Rosneft PJSC closed a deal in October to acquire 30 percent of the Zohr field. BP Plc bought a 10 percent stake last year.