Egypt will resume natural gas exports in January, the country’s oil minister said Wednesday, according to local media.
In an interview with news website El Watan, Tarek El Molla said Egypt would as of October halt gas imports, which were driven by low domestic output and growing demand for energy.
The government hopes that production from a number of natural gas development projects offshore Egypt’s northern coast will allow the country to resume exports.
Among the online gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean, the giant Zohr field is especially noteworthy with an estimated recoverable natural gas reserves up to 622.9 mmcfd.
"It will be the beginning of self-sufficiency in natural gas, and we will begin to export the surplus in January 2019," the minister added.
Natural gas production in Egypt has been in decline recently, dropping from a peak of 164.2 million cubic meters per day (mmcfd) in 2009 to 110.4 mmcfd in 2016, according to BP’s latest Statistical Review of World Energy.
A higher demand for energy driven by economic growth, increased use of gas to generate power, and energy subsidies resulted in the country becoming a net natural gas importer in 2015.
The Zohr field currently produces 31.14 mmcfd, corresponding to about 200 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day.
Output is expected to increase to 56.6 mmcfd by the end of this year, and to reach 76.4 mmcfd by the end of 2019.
Italy's Eni holds the largest stake in the Zohr gas field at 50 percent, with Russian Rosneft, BP, and U.A.E.'s Mubadala Petroleum owning 30, 10, and 10 percent stakes, respectively.
By Hale Turkes