The Egyptian oil and gas sector launched the first digital upstream platform, the Egypt Upstream Gateway (EUG), taking a wide step towards the digital transformation of the upstream sector. The EUG was established to be a giant exploration and production (E&P) national data repository that helps the sector accelerate its E&P business and attract investments through launching digital international bid rounds.

EUG Established

In 2020, the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) and Schlumberger had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish and operate the EUG, which was successfully launched a year later in February 2021.

The Egyptian oil and gas sector has a long history of upstream operations and a vast amount of data that need to be well structured and preserved. This huge amount of data triggered the idea of having an innovative digital platform to manage the upstream data and grant digital access to more than 100 years of accumulated non-seismic, seismic, production, well-log, and other subsurface data for offshore and onshore exploration.

“In a world of constant changes, digitalization became a pivotal enabler that allows the oil and gas industry to add value to the business operation by reducing costs, increasing productivity, and improve the decision-making process,” Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Tarek El Molla, previously stated during the EUG launching ceremony.

“EUG was really initiated as part of the upstream investment attraction pillar, the first pillar of the Modernization project. At that time, the team was thinking of innovative tools to digitally store the huge E&P data acquired over more than a century and exits with old formats at the information center and then the management thoughts to extend the EUG scope to drive the geological and geophysical (G&G) value from the data through regional studies to successfully help promoting the investment opportunities,” Ashraf Farag, First Undersecretary for Agreements and Exploration, Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, noted.

Mohamed Radwan, EUG Project Manager, Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, agreed, saying that “EUG is key outcome of the Modernization project with key focus on upstream investment attraction through deriving the technical value from the E&P big data.”

“The Minister’s strategy was a key enabler to accelerate the project timelines and delivery of the platform in less than a year,” Farag added.

Objectives of EUG

As the Egyptian petroleum industry thrives, the EUG comes to leverage technologies and data to accelerate oil and gas discoveries, and to enable digitization in order to modernize the sector. It is set to digitally promote the country’s bid rounds through an easier and faster access to the oil and gas sector’s online data.

The vision of the EUG according to Farag is to “optimize the value of E&P data by attracting global investment to the upstream sector to boost production.” Meanwhile, he noted that the EUG mission is to “build a fully integrated platform for Egypt to enable seamless data access and offer the opportunity to explore new plays, prospects and evaluate basins’ potential.”

EUG aims to promote E&P investments opportunities on a global scale, and it targets helping the Egyptian oil and gas sector reposition itself on the international investment map. “EUG reflects the Ministry of Petroleum vision for attracting new upstream investments through digital promotion platforms,” Farag pointed out.

The platform will enable online data delivery and visualization, besides it will offer trusted and secure data trading through the EUG portal.

The EUG portal will further guarantee access control for proprietary data, and it will have a virtual data room that has application access as well as workflow, representing a successful bid round licensing platform.

EUG Success

The upstream platform was launched in time that helped the Egyptian oil and gas sector operate during the lock-time and social distancing procedures caused by COVID-19. “It’s worth mentioning that launching EUG during Coronavirus circumstances was a key facilitator for bid round data rooms,” Farag noted. The EUG encouraged many major IOCs, including Wintershall Dea, Apache, and Eni to sign membership agreements in the platform. These agreements show the trust of IOCs in the EUG.

“During the launch event of the EUG on February 2021, His Excellency Eng. Tarek el Molla recommended the effective and practical use of the platform through launching the first digital bid round, making the best use of the project infrastructure and resources,” Farag stated.

In February 2021, Egypt announced the launch of its first digital international bid round through the EUG. The bid round included 24 blocks in the Eastern Desert, the Western Desert, the Gulf of Suez, and the Mediterranean Sea.

“Having the bid round launched, EUG provides virtual data rooms for IOC’s to remotely evaluate the offered blocks and the team proactively engaged with them for finalizing the EUG memberships and data confidentiality contracts. The team hold many virtual and physical events to technically promote the potentials of the offered blocks with successful market engagement,” Farag pointed out.

Establishing the EUG was a significant leap towards the digitalization of the Egyptian oil and gas sector. It helps Egypt boost upstream investments. Moreover, it is a key enabler for remotely obtaining, and managing data, and for launching bid rounds amid the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.