BP and Eni SpA have found 2 trillion cubic feet of gas, half of what is needed to start up a new liquefied natural gas train, an executive of State-owned Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) said.

For the second LNG train project, BP and Eni have to find 4 tcf of gas, Atef Abdallah Abdelhady, assistant vice chairman for production at EGAS said.

“Once the partners find economic quantities, train 2 will start … they were supposed to find 4 tcf of gas to let this project go ahead, they found 2 (tcf)…let them bring 4. I have commitments towards contracts (exports) and domestic (demand),” Abdelhady told Reuters on the sidelines of an oil and gas event in Dammam.

BP and Eni SpA had proposed a second LNG train at Damietta with a capacity of around 2 billion cubic metres per year.

Last week, Hassan Sabry, a projects and planning official at EGAS said some partners had withdrawn from the project because of the financial crisis. .

Abdelhady said he was not aware that any of the partners had pulled out.

EGAS first announced plans for the second LNG train when it signed with BP and Eni a memorandum of understanding in 2005.

“Train 2 is delayed because when we said we want to have a second train…the companies were committed to find fields dedicated to train 2…Companies were supposed to say they will (find) new fields for exports, they were late in it,” he said.

The project, which is now in the drilling phase, will restart once companies finish wells appraisal, Abdelhady said.

Egypt’s proven natural gas reserves rose to around 77.2 trillion cubic feet in the 2008/09 fiscal year.

EGAS was established in 2001 to monitor development phases of 26 gas companies operating in Egypt.

Its daily production is around 6,800 million cubic feet per day of gas and 120,000 barrels of condensate.

Abdelhady said Egypt started two months ago exporting around 50 million cubic feet per day (cfd) of gas to Lebanon through a pipeline from Jordan to Syria.

Egypt exports 200-250 million cfd of natural gas to Jordan, its main export market, Abdelhady said.

(Reuters)