Gas discovery offshore Egypt rivals Mediterranean giants

Eni SPA expects accelerated development of what it describes as a “supergiant gas discovery” at its deepwater Zohr prospect offshore Egypt. The company will immediately appraise its discovery, which it says might hold 30 tcf of lean gas in place in an area covering 100 sq km.

The Zohr 1X NFW discovery well was drilled to a total depth of 13,553 ft in 4,757 ft of water on Egypt’s Shorouk Block 9. The well hit a 2,067-ft hydrocarbon column in a carbonate sequence of Miocene age with 400 m of net pay, Eni said. The company has future plans to target a deeper Cretaceous upside with a dedicated well.

Zohr is the largest gas discovery made in Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea, and if early estimates hold true, could become one of the world’s largest natural gas finds, the company said. As Eni begins to fast track development for the Zohr discovery, the Mediterranean region looks on. Egypt’s Sharouk Block is on the country’s offshore boundary, and is in close proximity to Cyprus’ Block 12 containing the Aphrodite discovery and Isreal’s Leviathan discovery. Mediterranean development has been gridlocked for quite some time, and this latest discovery stands to alter the flow of gas from other recent major discoveries (OGJ Online, Apr. 7, 2014).

Isreal’s National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz told The Jerusalem Post: “Following the reports, the discovery of the huge gas field in Egypt is a painful reminder that while the state of Isreal is standing still and taking its time with the final approval of the gas outline, and delaying further exploration, the world is changing before our very eyes, also with ramifications on export possibilities.”

While Isreal has made progress, this latest discovery may take away Egypt as an export client (OGJ Online, Apr. 6, 2015). Analysts with Raymond James & Associates Inc. noted that development of the Zohr discovery is not realistic before 2020, but the long-term opportunity is supportive of greater energy independence for Egypt. The discovery is less encouraging for plans to supply Egypt from fields offshore Israel and Cyprus.

Eni, through its subsidiary IEOC Production BV, holds a 100% working interest in the Sharouk Block and is operator.

Contact Tayvis Dunnahoe at tayvisd@ogjonline.com.

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