Minister of Petroleum Tarek El Molla has announced that drilling at the Zohr natural gas field in the Mediterranean is set to begin on Saturday, state media Al-Ahram reported.
El Molla said Egypt has reached an agreement with Italian energy group Eni SpA, which holds 100 percent of the working interest in the area where the gas field is located. Eni will begin drilling 20 wells over 26 months at a cost of USD 12 billion, which the company will pay in full.
According to the minister, the field will produce approximately 2.7 billion cubic feet of gas daily once the drilling project is complete.
Eni announced the discovery, located within Egyptian maritime territory, in August, saying the 100-square-kilometer field potentially holds up to 30 trillion cubic feet of lean gas, which “will give a major contribution in satisfying Egypt’s natural gas demand for decades.”
The Italian company, which has been present in Egypt since 1954, is considered to be the country’s main oil and gas producer, at an average daily equity production of 200,000 barrels of oil per day.
The discovery of the gas field is expected to help alleviate Egypt’s fuel and energy crisis, which Egyptian authorities have attempted to solve by diversifying the country’s energy sources and gradually removing economically crippling fuel subsidies.