BP aims to double natural gas production in Egypt in the next four years, despite weak prices, Reuters reports. The move would assist Egypt’s in its quest for rapid expansion of energy production in order to rebuild an economy that has struggled for four years. BP currently produces 10% of Egypt’s oil production and 30% of Egypt’s gas – around 1.4-1.5bcf/d of gas.

According to BP North Africa Regional President, Hesham Mekawi, “BP’s plan is to double our gas production in Egypt, before the end of this decade.” He also explained that the Zohr discovery “gives a big incentive to the players who are here and maybe others considering investing in Egypt to do more; it proves what BP has believed for many years — that the Nile Delta is a world-class gas basin.”

The majority of additional production that BP will bring online in the next few years will come from its West Nile Delta project – expected to reach around 1.2bcf/d starting in 2017. Further, the Atoll field in the Eastern Nile Delta, could bring 250mcf/d online by end 2017. “(Atoll) is a very good example of how we’re moving fast and our partnership in Egypt is very successful. We had a discovery, and based on our confidence in Egypt we decided to move forward quickly,” said Mekawi.

Mekawi sees Egypt’s energy sector growth culminating with the country assuming the role of regional hub, for gas re-export to and from Cyprus, Turkey, Israel, and others – which he believes will happen in the next three years. Egypt “has all the fundamentals – infrastructure, facilities, location […] to be used both for the domestic market, which is huge, and for export,” BP Regional President concluded.

The Egyptian government has aggressively signed exploration contracts, renegotiated production prices, and lobbied companies to speed up projects even as firms worldwide scale back. However, Egypt’s arrears owed to international firms have increased to $3b, despite promises to repay debts.