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Egypt: a leading natural gas producer in the Eastern Mediterranean

Egypt has emerged as Africa's second-largest gas producer with proven reserves of 75.5 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas.
© Freepik

Egypt has emerged as a prominent producer of natural gas with proven hydrocarbon reserves of 3.6 billion barrels of oil and 75.5 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas as of the end of 2020. Production increased significantly since 2017, coinciding with the operation commencement of the Zohr field. In 2021, natural gas production reached 2.45 Tcf, reinforcing Egypt as the second-largest gas producer in North Africa after Algeria and accounting for about 1.7% of the world's proven reserves.

Natural gas plays a pivotal role in the Egyptian economy, contributing significantly to the country's power generation infrastructure. Data from the International Energy Agency reveals that, in 2013, natural gas represented 51.5% of the total primary energy supplied in Egypt and produced 76.8% of the electricity. Furthermore, the oil and gas industry accounted for around 24% of Egypt's total GDP in FY 2019-2020, demonstrating its economic significance. Investments in this sector have also witnessed a surge, increasing from USD 9 billion in FY 2014/2015 to USD 47.8 billion in FY 2019/2020.

The Eastern Mediterranean region, renowned for its abundant oil and gas resources housed in sedimentary basins, has witnessed significant growth as a gas-producing area in recent years. Large natural gas discoveries have been made since 2009, transforming the region's dynamics. Notably, the Zohr gas field, located in the Shorouk Block in the Mediterranean Sea, represents the most significant discovery with around 850 billion cubic meters (30 trillion cubic feet) of gas.

The complex geological structures and tectonic activity in the Eastern Mediterranean region provide conducive conditions for hydrocarbon accumulation. Advanced technologies are employed for exploration, including seismic surveys, drilling, and production technologies, to identify potential gas reservoirs efficiently.

Among Egypt's numerous gas fields, the Zohr gas field is the largest discovery, discovered by Eni, an Italian energy company, in 2015. Situated within the Shorouk concession in the Mediterranean Sea, this field almost doubles Egypt's gas reserves.

Another significant gas field is the recently discovered Nargis gas field, situated in the Nargis block in the eastern Mediterranean. While the evaluation of its reserves is still underway, this field is expected to contribute significantly to Egypt's gas production. The Nargis block is operated by Chevron, along with Tharwa Petroleum Co.

Capitalizing on its strategic location, well-developed energy infrastructure, and large gas reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean, Egypt aims to consolidate its position as a regional energy hub. The country encourages international oil companies to participate in the oil and gas sector, with over fifty such companies currently operating within Egypt. These efforts, coupled with the significant discoveries and ongoing exploration in the region, suggest a promising future for Egypt's gas sector.