Egypt discovers potential 50 million barrels of oil in western desert

The Arab world's most populous country enjoying a gas bonanza after discovery of the huge Zohr gas field

Italian energy company Eni made three oil and gas discoveries in Egypt's western region, with potential for up to 50 million barrels of oil equivalent in reserves, according to the country's petroleum ministry.

The discoveries include oil, gas and condensate reserves in the Mleiha development concession in the Western Desert region. Condensate is a lucrative liquid associated with gas production. The new discoveries are associated with fields where initial well testing indicated stable oil flows of up to 2,500 barrels per day.

Eni holds a 38 per cent stake in the Mleiha concession area, with Russia's Lukoil and state-owned Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation having 12 per cent and 50 per cent interests, respectively.

The Italian company plans to bring in "a quick return on investment by linking the discoveries with existing production facilities to exploit these new discoveries", the Egyptian petroleum ministry said in a statement on its website.

Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country, has enjoyed a gas bonanza since the discovery of the enormous Zohr gas field by Eni in 2015.

The discovery spurred a race for more gas reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean by countries in the region. Eni's discovery of Zohr transformed the fortunes of Egypt, which has become a significant exporter of natural gas.

It is the second-biggest producer of gas in North Africa after Algeria and accounts for about 1.1 per cent of the world's proven reserves, according to the BP Statistical Review of Energy 2021.

Last year, Eni also announced the discovery of a gas field, which is estimated to hold up to four trillion cubic feet of gas, in the waters of the Nile Delta, offshore Egypt.

The discovery in the Great Nooros area, located in the Abu Madi Development Lease, was confirmed after Eni drilled an exploratory well called the Nidoco NW-1 in the concession area.

The Italian producer has total production of about 360,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in Egypt.

Egypt has also expanded the scope of exploration work in the country, awarding rights to US oil major Chevron, Anglo-Dutch Shell and Abu Dhabi's Mubadala to explore for oil and gas in the Red Sea.

Updated: October 27th 2021, 5:39 PM