In the space of 8 years, Egypt has managed to move from gas importer to gas to exporter. The discovery of new gas fields and its diplomatic influence should enable the country to become a regional energy hub, in cooperation with its neighbors.
In January 2019, Egypt again became a net exporter of gas. Today, it produces a record 6.6 billion cubic meters of gas a day – an increase of more than 30% since 2016 – making it one of the largest producers in North Africa and the Middle East.
The country has the sixth-largest oil reserves in Africa, ranks among the world’s top 20 largest natural gas reserves and has recently agreed to the construction of a gas pipeline with Cyprus.
In recent years, the eastern Mediterranean has become one of the most promising offshore drilling areas in the world. In 2015, it was Egypt that won the lot with the discovery by the Italian oil company ENI of Zohr’s deep-water gas field: with 850 billion cubic meters of recoverable gas, this is the biggest discovery of hydrocarbons ever made in this maritime area.
Recently, Eni announced the discovery of a new natural gas field in the Noor-1 well in the Noor Exploration Area. Sources close to the company believe that the potential of the new field may be compared to Zohr.
Gas wealth to benefit the country
In the past, Egypt did not take full advantage of its energy power status. In the 2000s, President Hosni Mubarak allegedly squandered the proceeds of a previous gas boom while providing lucrative contracts to his friends. An error that the current president Abdel Fattah al-Sissi does not intend to reproduce.
In order for this new influx of “blue gold” to directly benefit the greatest number of Egyptians, the government intends to take advantage of this opportunity to ensure a flexible energy transition. It thus encourages motorists to abandon gasoline and diesel for the benefit of gas. To date, 250 000 cars out of the country’s 10 million vehicles have made the transition, according to a New York Times article.