Eni, Egypt to accelerate Zohr field production start-up

The President of the Republic of Egypt Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, and Eni’s Chief Executive Officer Claudio Descalzi, confirmed the joint commitment to accelerate the production start-up of the Zohr field offshore Egypt.

The two met on Sunday in Cairo to discuss Eni’s activities in the country, with the main focus on Eni’s recent giant gas discovery in the Mediterranean Sea, offshore Egypt.

During the meeting, Eni’s CEO presented to President Al-Sisi the field development plan for the Zohr discovery.

Earlier in September, Descalzi was cited as saying it would take up to $10 billion to bring the Zohr gas to production.

According to the first well and seismic information, it was estimated that the discovery could hold a potential of 30 trillion cubic feet of lean gas in place (5.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent in place) covering an area of about 100 square kilometres. The Italian company later revealed that the giant gas discovery could be larger than initially reported. Exploration is expected to resume in 2016.

East Mediterranean gas hub

Descalzi and Al-Sisi further discussed the possibility of setting up a gas hub in the eastern Mediterranean Sea aimed at making the Egyptian transport and export facilities also available for the nearby discoveries.

Descalzi in September mentioned the possibility of transferring of the gas found offshore Cyprus to Europe using Eni’s facility in Egypt. This happened during his meeting in Nicosia with the Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades.

Israel and Cyprus

Also back in September, during the meeting between the European Commissioner for Energy and Climate Action, Miguel Arias Cañete and Claudio Descalzi it was said that the Zohr gas discovery, along with other discoveries made in recent years offshore Israel and Cyprus, would allow the East Mediterranean gas hub to contribute significantly to European energy security.

The Israeli government was not delighted about Eni’s giant find offshore Egypt, as it is struggling to develop its own giant gas field, the Leviathan, with Egypt regarded as one of the main clients for the gas.

Months before the Zohr gas field discovery, in March 2015, Noble Energy and Israel’s Delek Group signed a contract for the export of natural gas from the Tamar gas field, off Israel, to Egyptian company Dolphinus Holdings Limited.

Israel’s Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz in August said that the Zohr discovery in Egypt might hurt Israeli gas exports.

However, Delek Drilling’s CEO Yossi Abu, also from Israel, had a different opinion about the Zohr find. In a meeting he had with the Cypriot president in September, where they agreed on the Aphrodite field development cooperation, Abu said he saw a positive outcome of the Eni’s discovery in Egypt as it put eastern Mediterranean gas into focus.

Furthermore, Noble Energy, a U.S.-based independent oil and gas producer, and operator of Israel’s behemoth gas fields Leviathan and Tamar, said in September it had received assurances that Egypt was still interested in importing Israeli gas, despite the Eni discovery.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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