Italian oil giant Eni announced that they may have just discovered the world’s largest oil field off the coast of Egypt. The company is still appraising the field’s full value, but commentators are already saying it will satisfy Egypt’s natural gas needs for decades to come.
According to the AFP, there could be 30 trillion cubic feet of lean natural gas in an area roughly 40 square miles under the Mediterranean off the coast of Egypt — a discovery confirmed by the country’s oil ministry.
The gas field, called Zohr, could potentially change Egypt for decades according to a statement from the Italian company Eni.
“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. The discovery, after its full development, will be able to ensure satisfying Egypt’s natural gas demand for decades.”
The statement went on to say, “Eni will immediately appraise the field with the aim of accelerating a fast-track development of the discovery.”
The announcement came a day after Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab.
The government claims that despite its huge size, the gas field would only be used for domestic consumption.
Still, the new gas could come soon. The AP reports that Eni has been in Egypt since 1954 and is the country’s largest hydrocarbon producer with a daily equity production equivalent to 200,000 barrels of oil.
Thanks to the largest presence in Egypt and the government’s intention to fast-track the project, the company believes they can develop the oil field for use in just four years.
“Important synergies with the existing infrastructures can be exploited, allowing us a fast production startup,” Descalzi explained.
“This historic discovery will be able to transform the energy scenario of Egypt.”
The country has other energy investments underway. In March, BP said it would invest $12 billion to develop Egypt’s West Nile Delta fields energy resources with its Russian partner, DEA.
The company expects to start production by 2017 and it will get 55 million barrels of condensates from the five trillion cubic feet of gas fields.
As for the Zohr discovery, oil ministry spokesman Handi Abdelaziz said that the country will not export the gas onto the global market, but hopes to achieve energy independence.
“The Egyptian government is very happy with this find. We hope to become self-sufficient by 2020.”