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Shell introduces new exploration technology to Egypt

Shell extracted large volumes of natural gas from the Apollonia Reservoirs in the Western Desert of Egypt, using foam.
Shell | 28.08.2012

For the first time in North Africa, Shell Egypt and its joint venture partner Badr Petroleum Company (Bapetco) have successfully performed hydraulic fracturing utilising foam to unlock significant volumes of natural gas trapped in the Apollonia Reservoirs in Egypt's Western Desert. An extended well test programme involving the six Apollonia wells has started, a company statement says.

Foam fracking is an innovative exploration method which uses carbon dioxide foam, rather than water, to create fissures in rock pores up to 20,000 times narrower than a human hair so that trapped or 'tight' gas molecules are released from the rocks. This is a necessary process since tight gas does not flow freely into a well as with normal reservoirs. It is an established industry technology, which is conducted throughout the world in thousands of oil and gas wells every year. Without it, much of the world's unconventional oil and gas resources could not be produced.

"We are proud to bring advanced technology and innovation to our projects in Egypt", says Jeroen Regtien, chairman Shell Companies in Egypt. He added that "utilising the combined capabilities of Shell Egypt and our joint venture partner, Badr Petroleum Company, Shell is continuing to invest in exploring and growing the hydrocarbon resources of Egypt in order to meet future energy challenges today."

In the last decade, the global energy industry has discovered an abundance of natural gas. Of the world's 250-year supply of gas estimated by the International Energy Agency (IEA), almost half is considered to be 'unconventional' and is contained in shales, tight sandstones and coal beds. Accessing these reserves would have been impossible through conventional production techniques – Shell has applied next generation exploration technology from its operations around the world in order to meet Egypt's energy needs.

Shell companies in Egypt are wholly owned by the Royal Dutch Shell. Active in Egypt since 1911, Shell Egypt business today spans upstream oil and gas exploration & production, downstream marketing and gas distribution. Most of Shell's upstream operations are located in the Western Desert.

In 2011 Shell celebrated its 100 year presence in Egypt. It first entered the country in 1911 to operate two concessions in Gemsa and Hurghada. Today Shell has a number of joint ventures and interests in Egypt.