The value of Egypt’s natural gas exports has increased 13-fold in the last eight years, a new government report has found.
The country exported $8 billion worth of natural and liquefied gas in the 2021-2022 fiscal year, which ended on June 30. This compared with $600 million of exports in 2013-2014, said the report published by the Egyptian Cabinet’s media centre.
About 7.2 million tonnes of natural and liquefied gas were exported in the eight-year period, compared with 1.9 million tonnes in 2013-2014.
Over the same period, Egypt signed 108 agreements with international companies for the excavation of gas and petrol with at least $22bn in investment value.
The growth comes as Egypt is seeking to maximise the benefits of its natural gas wealth. The North African country is also seeking to boost much-needed foreign currency reserves through expanding exploration projects, developing liquefaction stations, increasing exports, signing partnerships and rationing domestic electricity consumption.
“The Egyptian state is moving forward towards achieving its vision of becoming a regional centre for gas production and exports, in light of its wealth and capabilities that qualify it to achieve this goal,” the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources said on Sunday.
Egypt was a natural gas importer between 2015 and 2017, as domestic demand outweighed supply, before the discovery and start of production at the Zohr gasfield.
Considered the largest field in the Eastern Mediterranean region, Zohr was estimated in August 2015 to hold 850 bcm of gas, Italian energy company Eni said.
The country returned to exporter status in September 2018, the government report said, after achieving self-sufficiency in natural gas.
Egypt’s gas production reached a record 69.2 billion cubic metres in 2021-2022, growing by more than 65 per cent from the 2015-2016 period.
Production at the Zohr gasfield jumped to 2.7 billion cubic metres per day in 2021-2022 and $741m in investments were made. This brought the total investments in the gasfield to $12bn, the petroleum ministry said.
Last year, Egypt ranked 13th in the world in natural gas production and second in Africa, BP said.
Egypt also reported a fivefold year-on-year increase in liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports in 2021, supported by the resumption of operations at the Damietta plant after nine years.
Europe’s gas crisis, caused by supply disruptions triggered by the Russia-Ukraine war, has boosted Egypt’s LNG exports this year.
In the first six months of 2022, more than 72 per cent of Egypt’s LNG exports went to Europe, compared with 29 per cent in all of last year, Refinitiv LNG flows data shows.
To benefit from record energy prices, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said the country would start rationing electricity consumption in an effort to further increase natural gas exports and foreign currency reserves.
Every million thermal units provided locally at a price of $3 can be exported at $30, Mr Madbouly said.