In a push to lift domestic oil and gas production, Egypt is planning to launch three international oil and gas exploration tenders in 2019, with the Red Sea a key focus as the government hopes to follow up recent successes in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Egypt is tendering 10 blocks offshore the Red Sea, which falls under the jurisdiction of Ganoub El Wadi Petroleum Holding (Ganope). On March 10, Ganope invited companies to review and purchase technical data, with August 1 set as the closing date for bids.
The Red Sea is considered promising as there have been no exploration activities since an agreement on the joint maritime border was reached with Saudi Arabia in 2017. In February, seismic data analysis in the Red Sea, carried out by Schlumberger in co-operation with Ganope, indicated a roughly 70% chance of new natural gas discoveries. Saudi has recently declared the discovery of gas in the Red Sea.
Egyptian Minister of Petroleum Tarek El-Molla said on March 5 that another bid round will be offered this year by the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding (EGAS) for natural gas in the Western Mediterranean region.
A further 2019 bid round will be offered by Egypt’s other key state-owned hydrocarbons player, the Egyptian General Petroleum Corp. (EGPC), in the Western and Eastern Deserts and the Gulf of Suez, he told Daily News Egypt.
Egypt’s reserves stood at 3.3 billion barrels of oil and 1.78 tcm of natural gas at the end of 2017. Egypt’s gas sector has made substantial progress since Italy’s Eni discovered the 850 bcm Zohr field in 2015.
The development of Zohr – plus additional gas supplies from new discoveries and ramped up production at existing fields – has raised Egyptian gas output significantly over the last three years, to around 184 mcm per day (67.2 bcm per year). By 2020, Egypt is expected to produce 198 mcm per day of natural gas.
As a demonstration of its return to gas form, throughput at the Idku liquefaction plant has increased this year. El Molla, talking to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi last week, said the country was once more self-sufficient in gas.