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Egypt launches $1.8bn gas exploration programme

Tarek El Molla Egypt petroleum minister Reuters/Dominika Zarzycka/Sipa USA
Egyptian petroleum minister Tarek El Molla speaking at Cop27 last year
  • 35 wells planned in Nile Delta and Mediterranean over two years
  • Shell, Chevron and ExxonMobil among international partners
  • 284 oil and gas fields have been discovered in past five years

Egypt has begun a $1.8 billion gas exploration programme with plans to drill wells in the Mediterranean Sea and Nile Delta.

The programme is in cooperation with energy majors Eni, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell and BP, petroleum minister Tarek El Molla told the UAE state-run Wam news agency.

El Molla said the aim is to drill 35 exploration wells within two years, 21 in the current 2023/2024 financial year and 14 in the next year. 

He said that the Egyptian petroleum sector and its international partners have been exploring for new oil and gas resources over the past five years, discovering 284 new fields, including 217 oil wells and 67 gas wells.

These new fields have added 1.32 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) to the country’s reserves, the minister added.

Egypt’s oil and gas production covers most of the country’s energy demand, with fossil fuels accounting for 93 percent of primary energy sources in the country.

In February El Molla said the country will launch the first-ever bid for obsolete energy fields, which need “unconventional methods and specialised technology” to extract the remaining resources.

The minister added that the country is negotiating to increase gas imports to re-export, pointing to cooperation with Cyprus to benefit from the Aphrodite field after it is developed.

In the same month, state-run Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company chairman Magdy Galal said the country has an ambitious offshore exploration plan.

“For 2024 and 2025, we have a very good, ambitious drilling campaign. We are planning to drill around 30 wells, exploratory wells, most of them offshore, during the current and next fiscal year,” he told an energy conference in Cairo.

Egypt plans to invest $9 billion in building new oil refining and gas projects, according to the ministry of petroleum and mineral resources.