The Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) intends to put forward bids for nine natural gas land and offshore exploration concession areas in the second quarter (Q2) of this year, according to an official source at the company, who declined to be identified.
According to the source, the company obtained security approvals for the bidding process, and will include six marine and three land areas.
EGAS has already prepared a plan that includes offering bids for natural gas and shale gas exploration annually, especially in the Mediterranean Sea, which the company regards as a promising area in the field of extracting natural gas in Egypt.
According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the reserves of the Mediterranean basin are estimated at 122tn cubic feet of natural gas and about 107bn barrels of crude oil.
The global bidding for gas and crude oil comes within the framework of the Ministry of Petroleum’s strategy to encourage and attract new investments from international companies to work in Egypt in this field in order to add new reserves and increase the production of petroleum products to meet the needs of the local gas market.
In March 2015, EGAS launched a tender for natural gas exploration in 12 maritime zones. Four offers were accepted in four sectors in the Mediterranean with a total investment of a minimum of $306m. The offers by BP and Italy’s Eni for Sector 4 in North Ras El Esh marine area was also accepted.
Moreover, the offer from Eni, BP, and Total for sector 7 north of Hammad Al-Bahri was accepted, along with the offer by Italian company Edison in Sector 12 north-east of Haby area in the Mediterranean Sea, as well as the offer from BP for Sector 14 north of Tabiya.
Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El-Molla said that his ministry succeeded last year in adding about 1.6bn cubic feet of natural gas to domestic production to reach 5.5bn cubic feet per day. This increase came from Noras, Atol, and North Alexandria wells, along with Eni’s Zohr.
The domestic production of natural gas is directed entirely to consumption in the domestic market sectors of electricity and industry, according to the minister. He noted that after the achievement of self-sufficiency, gas will be exported.
Egypt’s natural gas production in 2018 is expected to reach 6.3bn cubic feet per day, compared to only 6bn cubic feet a day in the second half of 2017, according to EGAS indicators.