Egypt muscling in on global gas production
Baker Hughes, a GE company, announced September 9, 2017 a major subsea contract from Petrobel for phase two of the “supergiant” Zohr Gas Field situated in the Mediterranean Sea, off the Egyptian coast.
BHGE will provide project management, engineering procurement, fabrication, construction, testing and transportation of a subsea production system, and will support the installation, commissioning and start-up operations.
If Zohr delivers on the promise, it would have a lasting impact on Egypt’s gas future and repayment of its $3.5 billion debt to foreign gas companies, a figure quoted by Eng. Tarek El-Molla, Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, as reported in Egypt’s state media in February 2017.
“The Zohr gas field is playing a major role in the development of Egypt’s domestic energy resources, revenue generation and economic growth,” said Eng. El-Molla, following the recent signing ceremony.
Lorenzo Simonelli, president and CEO, BHGE, said: “The Zohr Field project has the potential to meet Egypt’s growing gas demand and save the country billions of dollars that would otherwise be spent on importing gas.”
Petrobel is a joint venture between IEOC (a subsidiary of Italian company Eni in Egypt) and Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) and is in charge of the development of Zohr Field on behalf of PetroSherouk, a joint venture between Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) and IEOC.
Plenty in reserves
Zohr Gas field is located within the 3,752km² Shorouk Block, in the Egyptian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), more than 150km from the coast. Eni was granted approval for the Zohr Development Lease by the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) in February 2016.
According to the Middle East Institute (MEI), a Washington-based institution dedicated to the study of the Middle East, the deep-water field is expected to hold approximately 30 trillion cubic feet of lean gas, making it the biggest gas discovery in the Egyptian Mediterranean Sea and, potentially, the 20th largest in the world.
MEI said that, until the Zohr discovery, Egypt had an estimated 64.8 trillion cft of natural gas reserves, making it a medium-sized player in the natural gas market. It estimated total investment costs for Zohr at $7bn, although as much as a $12bn figure was also reported in media reports.