Egypt plans to invest $1.5 billion into drilling 35 natural gas wells by 2025, the cabinet said in a statement on Tuesday, citing Petroleum Minister Tarek El-Molla. The news comes hours after British Petroleum announced Monday that it was planning to invest $3.5 billion into gas exploration in Egypt over the next three years.
The North African country also plans to drill five more wells at the Zohr offshore megafield from 2024, the minister added. The Zohr site is estimated to provide around 40% of Egypt’s total gas production, Reuters reported on Aug. 7.
In a July interview with WAM, El-Molla said that these new wells would be in the Mediterranean and Nile Delta areas.
Egypt intends to produce around 8 million tons of liquified natural gas in 2023, a rise from 7.5 million tons last year. It is struggling to meet growing domestic demand for gas from its population of 105 million. Crippling power cuts have plagued the country this summer. In an effort to solve the electricity issues, Egypt has agreed to import more of Israel's LNG for the time being.
Meanwhile, BP CEO Bernard Looney met with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El Sissi and El Molla on Monday to discuss the energy company’s operations in the country.
The London-headquartered company plans to drill four natural gas wells in the fourth quarter of this year. Two of them will be in the Raven offshore field in the north Alexandria and western Mediterranean offshore blocks, while the other two will be in the King Mariout and West Qir areas.
BP has been operating in Egypt for 60 years, according to the company’s website. BP produces around 60% of the country’s gas through a joint venture with the Pharaonic Petroleum Company and Petrobel in the eastern Nile Delta as well as through west Nile Delta gas development, which it operates solely as BP.