The Egyptian Minister of Petroleum, Tarek El Molla, stated that Egypt’s production of natural gas will increase to 5bcf/d in the 2017/2018 fiscal year, from it’s current level of 4.35bcf/d. He added that the country will still increase gas imports to cover growing demand that has reached 5.2bcf/d, reported Reuters.

Accordingly, Egypt is speeding up the development of major gas discoveries, aiming to achieve energy self-sufficiency by 2020-21 with estimated gas production of over 7.5bcf. This will come gradually, as Zohr offshore field will come online in 2017, and its  production will reach 1bcf/d of gas by the end of the year. Further boosting supply, BP’s northern Alexandria field is also due to enter production during the year at around 450-500mcf/d of gas. Additionally, the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) will launch a new exploration tender in early 2017, offering nine to 11 concessions, as part of its efforts to boost production.

On the other hand, EGAS will also work on growing gas imports by holding an international tender for 48 to 56 LNG shipments. The first 120 cargoes are expected to arrive in 2017, in addition to 12 cargos from France’s Engie. Moreover, EGAS has contracted a third floating and storage regasification unit (FSRU) that is expected to arrive at the end of June 2017. El Molla expects the country’s import bill for LNG and petroleum products during 2016 to reach $3b.

It is noted that Zohr is the biggest gas field in the Mediterranean with an estimated 30tcf, and is expected to produce 2.5-3bcf/d  when it reaches peak production in 2019.