Egypt to achieve refining self-sufficiency by 2022

Production from North Alexandria and West Nile Delta will be ramped up to 700 million cubic feet per day by April, says petroleum minister

Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., November 12, 2018.  
ADIPEC day 1.  Ministerial Panel.  Reshaping markets:  continuing the global energy discussion. H.E. Tarek El Molla, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Arab Republic of Egypt during the conference.
Victor Besa / The National
Section:  NA
Reporter:  Jennifer Gnana
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Egypt will achieve self-sufficiency in refining by 2022 as it plans to bring on stream four refineries, even as it looks to ramp up production from large gas projects, according to its petroleum minister.

“We have important projects for expansion of refineries in Alexandria, Cairo, Suez and in Assiut. Most of them have kicked off already and are in the execution phase and in different levels of execution,” Tarek El Molla told delegates attending the Egypt Petroleum Show in Cairo.

“We have planned that this year one refinery will be getting into stream, next year another one and the following year a third one and the following year there will be a fourth one, whereby we see ourselves in achieving self sufficiency in refining products,” he added.

Egypt has the largest refining capacity in Africa, estimated at 810,000 barrels per day, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2018. The North African country, which has made recent discoveries of large amounts of gas in the Eastern Mediterranean, has been switching its power plants to gas-fired while allowing for fuel oil and crude to be spared for refining.

Egypt’s biggest gas find of Zohr, discovered in 2016 is expected to increase production to more than 3 billion cubic feet per day this year, said Mr El Molla, even as the country looks to prioritise other concessions such as the BP-operated North Alexandria and West Nile Delta, from where production is expected to rise.

"We started to have the first gas a few days ago and we have ramped up production now by 400 million cubic feet per day, and we’ll reach 700 million cubic feet per day by April,” said the minister.

The Egyptian petroleum ministry is expected to announce the winners of bid rounds in 2018 this week.

The country is also looking to incentivise exploration and production in untested areas such as the Red Sea for international players, said Mr El Molla.

"We are doing what we can do about conventional exploration, and new frontiers like the Red Sea, which needs some more attention and incentives particularly for our international partners,” he added.