The Egyptian Petroleum Society (EPEX), headed by Dr. Ahmed A. Fattah, recently devoted a monthly session to the topic of unconventional resources in Egypt. Held on June 24th at the Sofitel in Maadi, the session brought together government officials, academics and industry professionals to discuss the potential of unconventional exploration in Egypt.

Dr. Ahmed A. El Fattah, the Deputy CEO for Exploration at EGPC conducted a presentation titled “Unconventional Resources in Egypt (Where we are?)”. The presentation outlined a variety of technical issues implicit in the exploration of unconventional hydrocarbons, particularly shale gas.

Dr. Fattah highlighted the dynamic nature of shale gas, noting that shale can migrate, or become trapped in unknown or unexplored areas. Most commonly, the gas is preserved in-situ as the tightness and sealing of the source rock does not allow for migration from source rock to reservoir rock, leaving the shale gas near its source formation in the sandstone reservoir

Dr. Fattah further discussed the exploration and production of shale gas, drawing from case studies on the Barnett Shale Formation located in the US. Dr. Fattah emphasized the importance of learning from the Barnett experience and applying such knowledge to the exploration and evaluation of shale resources in Egypt.

Dr. Fattah established a research committee comprised of individuals from various joint ventures in order to evaluate key basins in the Western Desert and identify those basins likely to contain shale gas formations. Dr. Fattah conveyed that he believes Egypt’s unconventional resources are vast, not only in the Western Desert but throughout all the geological provinces in Egypt.

Dr. Esam A. Abd El-Gawad, Department Chair and Professor of the Department of Petroleum Geology and Geochemistry at Al-Azhar University also spoke at the event.  His presentation analyzed the geological and geochemical elements of gas shale in Egypt. Dr. Gawad, a Fulbright fellow, noted that each shale play displays four characteristics: the maturity of the organic matter, the type of gas generated and stored in the reservoir, the total organic carbon content of the strata, and the permeability of the reservoir. These characteristics determine the suitability for different completion technologies.

Cumulatively, the presentations provided a comprehensive overview concerning the potential of unconventional hydrocarbon in Egypt. The productive session provided a technical roadmap for initiating unconventional exploration in Egypt.