The Italian energy company Eni SpA announced Sunday it has discovered a “supergiant” natural gas field off Egypt, describing it as the largest-ever found in the Mediterranean Sea. “Zohr is the largest gas discovery ever made in Egypt and in the Mediterranean Sea and could become one of the world’s largest natural gas finds,” Eni said in a statement. “The discovery, after its full development, will be able to ensure satisfying Egypt’s natural gas demand for decades.”
“Eni will immediately appraise the field with the aim of accelerating a fast-track development of the discovery,” the energy company said.
The discovery of potentially the world’s largest natural-gas field off the Egyptian coast will be an enormous alternative for Egypt and the Mediterranean in terms of energy stability. “It is close to the facilities so the time to market will be very good…that is part of our strategy to…continue to do our exploration in the mature area where we have a deep geographical knowledge and we can take advantage of our facilities and that will make the unit cost in terms of capital very positive” the CEO said.
State-backed Eni has market capitalization of around 54 billion euros and is the biggest foreign producer in Africa. It has operated in Egypt for more than 60 years through its Egyptian subsidiary IEOC and is one of the main energy producers in the country, with a daily output of 200,000 barrels of oil equivalent.
“The Egyptian government is very happy with this find,” ministry spokesman Hamdi Abdelaziz stated, adding that the gas would be extracted for domestic consumption only. “We hope to become self-sufficient by 2020,” he added. The egyptian government cannot yet place a monetary value on the discovery, he said.
In June, Italy’s ENI signed an energy exploration deal with Egypt’s oil ministry following an memorandum of understanding signed in March during an investment conference, allowing the Italian major to explore in Sinai, the Gulf of Suez, the Mediterranean and areas in the Nile Delta.
ENI’s influence in diplomatic exchanges has always been of great relevance and the weight of this ultimate discovery will grow the italian presence in the area for sure.