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Egypt announces new gas discovery in Nile Delta area

Christian Fernsby |
The Egyptian petroleum ministry announced on Tuesday a new gas discovery in the Nile Delta area with an estimated production of 20 million cubic feet per day, which would help the North African country become a regional energy hub.

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According to a ministry statement, the discovery was made by Petrobel-Belayim, an Egyptian petroleum company which manages gas and oil projects in the Nile Delta area.

The drilling of the exploratory well in El Qaraa area of the Nile Delta, which began in May, resulted in the discovery of gas-carrying layers.

According to the ministry, Petrobel-Belayim is accelerating the development to put the well on stream once it is linked to production facilities.

In January, the petroleum ministry said Egypt's natural gas output is expected to reach 8 billion cubic feet per day during the fiscal year 2019/2020, after the completion and operation of the gas field projects nationwide.

The figure came a few months after officials said the country's natural gas output had grown to 6.6 billion cubic feet per day after an increase in production at Zohr field, the largest natural gas discovery ever made in the Mediterranean.

Egypt aims to become a regional gas hub for the trade of liquefied natural gas after major gas discoveries in recent years, including the Zohr gas field which holds an estimated 30 trillion cubic feet of gas.

Last September, the North African country announced self-sufficiency in natural gas consumption with the gradual increase in local production and the plan to develop major gas fields in the Mediterranean in cooperation with giant international companies.

Also on Tuesday, Italy's oil giant Eni announced that production from South West Meleiha Development Lease, located in the Egyptian Western Desert, has started.

The current production through two wells stands at around 5,000 barrels of oil per day (BOPD) and is expected to reach 7,000 BOPD in September, Eni said in a statement.

More exploration wells are now planned to be drilled on the nearby prospects within the exploration area, it added.

Meanwhile, another oil discovery was made in the in the Gulf of Suez on the Sidri South exploration prospect, Eni noted, adding the discovery may hold up to 200 million barrels of oil.

Eni, which has been present in Egypt since 1954, has had overall investments of 13 billion U.S. dollars in Egypt since 2015.

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