Offshore natural gas development projects could increase Egypt’s production

Published on August 15, 2018 by Kevin Randolph

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Several natural gas development projects started recently in the eastern Mediterranean Sea near Egypt’s northern coast may increase the country’s natural gas production and offset the increasing need for natural gas imports to meet domestic demand, the Egyptian government announced recently.

The West Nile Delta, Nooros, Atoll, and Zohr fields have begun production. The Zohr field has estimated recoverable natural gas reserves of up to 22 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), making it potentially the largest field in the Mediterranean, according to company reports gathered by IHS Markit. It is currently providing 1.1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) and is expected to contribute 2.7 Bcf/d by the end of 2019.

Natural gas production in Egypt has decreased primarily due to relatively low investment, according to Business Monitor International research. Natural gas production in Egypt fell from a 2009 peak of 5.8 Bcf/d to 3.9 Bcf/d in 2016, based on estimates in BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy.

Domestic demand for energy, however, has increased due to economic growth, increased natural gas use for power generation and energy subsidies. Natural gas consumption has grown every year since at least 1990, except for small decreases in 2013 and 2014. Consumption is up 19 percent from 2009 when domestic production peaked.

According to the Middle East Economic Survey (MEES), Egypt will still need to import small amounts of natural gas in the coming years, particularly for the power sector.