Egypt’s Petroleum Ministry is intensifying efforts to explore oil and gas in new parts of the Mediterranean and Red Sea, as the country’s Tharwa Petroleum Company, and Italy’s Eni corporation, prepare to drill their first exploratory well at Noor offshore gas field, North Sinai.
Drilling will begin in a week’s time, an official of the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) told Reuters on Thursday.
In March, the Cabinet approved an agreement for oil and gas exploration along the North Sinai coast, with Eni and Tharwa investing roughly US$105 million to drill two exploratory wells. The agreement consists of two phases over six years.
Petroleum Minister Tarek al-Mulla claimed that the intensification of exploration activities in Egypt reflects investor confidence in the opportunities the country offers through international bidding, especially in the south of Egypt.
The Petroleum Ministry is interested in fulfilling southern Egypt’s need for petroleum products, Mulla continued in a statement, through development of the Assuit refinery and an upgrade of the petroleum transfer products.
Mulla noted that the coming period will witness intense exploration activity in the Red Sea area, following the demarcation of borders with Saudi Arabia and updates of geophysical data on the Red Sea and southern Egypt. The first international bids for gas and oil exploration in the region are soon to be launched.
Meanwhile Mohamed Azim, President of the South Valley Egyptian Petroleum Holding Company, revealed that an integrated research project to collect data on the south valley was underway.
He proclaimed that the Assiut oil refinery contributed to meeting the needs of Upper Egypt governorates for petroleum products, adding that the ministry plans to deliver gas to about 156,000 housing units in Upper Egypt governorates in 2018, among other industrial and commercial facilities.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm.