On August 30, 2015 Italian energy company Eni discovered a gas field in the Mediterranean off the coast of Egypt. The gas field is 4,757 miles below sea level and covers almost forty miles. According to Eni, the field could hold as much as 30 trillion cubic feet of gas. The field is the largest discovered natural gas field in the Mediterranean. The field was discovered in the Zohr Prospect of the Shorouk block, to which Eni full concession rights.
Eni will likely sell much of the gas from this field to the Egyptian domestic market. Robin Mills, an analyst for Manaar Energy Consulting, says that the gas could potentially “cover a lot of Egypt’s energy gap.” Domestic demand in Egypt has swelled in recent years, causing the country to reduce its gas exports and start looking for gas imports, as evidenced by the recent deals being negotiated between Israel and Egypt concerning gas importation.
The discovery of the Zohr field has prompted the Israeli gas industry to raise concer over potential gas deals – one of which includes the sale of gas to an LNG plant in Egypt from Israel’s Leviathan field. However, the Egyptian Petroleum Minister, Sherif Ismail, has insisted that negotiations between Israel and Egypt will not stop due to the Zohr discovery.
Eni is expected to deliver a development plan by October of this year, which will include a timeline and the number of wells the company plans to dig. According to Ismail, production in the Zohr field will likely start in early 2018.
Sources and Further Reading:
- Eni discovers massive gas field in the Mediterranean – Bloomberg
- Italy’s Eni discovers huge gas field off Egyptian coast – BBC
- Egypt Says Massive Gas Field Find Does Not Kill Import Deal With Israel – Haaretz
- Eni discovers “supergiant” gas field near Egypt – Financial Times
- UPDATE 2-Italy’s Eni makes mega gas discovery off Egyptian coast – Reuters