Big Oil to Make Massive Investments in Egypt
Eni SpA will start producing from the giant Zohr natural gas field off Egypt’s Mediterranean coast by the end of 2017 and plans to invest $10 billion in the North African country over the next five years, Chief Executive Officer Claudio Descalzi said at a conference in Cairo on Tuesday.
“BP Plc, which bought a 10% stake in Zohr from Eni last year, invested more in Egypt in 2016 than in any other country and will do so again this year,” the company’s CEO Bob Dudley said at the same event, Bloomberg reported.
“Some pretty good things are happening here for BP, like Eni,” Dudley said. “In 2016-17, we’re investing more money in Egypt than any country in the world, so this is important for us, we have confidence in the government.”
Mohamed El Masry, chairman of state-run Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Co., said in an interview at the event that Royal Dutch Shell will also start drilling in the West Delta Deep Marine Phase 9B gas field in the second quarter of this year.
Shell stopped drilling at the gas concession in the Nile delta last March because of the payments backlog. A Shell spokesman declined to comment on Tuesday.
“BP plans to start producing at the West Nile Delta project this spring,” Dudley said in an interview in Cairo.
“Egypt will announce a new round of bidding for licenses to explore in nine areas in the next six months,” El Masry said, noting that it “may” make a payment to Shell in the second quarter.
El Masry said on Feb. 2 that the country will start exporting gas in 2019. The Arab world’s most populous nation was a net exporter of liquefied natural gas until 2014, when declining output and power shortages resulting from political upheaval turned it into a net importer.