Despite a rise in discoveries of oil and natural gas, authorities in Cairo said they need to pursue nuclear power as their country runs out of fossil fuels.

The U.S. Energy Information Agency reported that recent major natural gas discoveries in Egypt put the country just behind Nigeria and Algeria in terms of African gas producers with around 58.5 trillion cubic feet of proven gas reserves.

Apache Corp., an independent energy company with headquarters in Texas, said oil discoveries in the Western Desert of Egypt, meanwhile, are indicative of the abundant resources west of the Nile River.

But Mounir Megahed, a former official at Egypt’s nuclear power authority, said his country was running out of conventional energy resources.

"We have very small reserves of oil and our natural gas reserves will probably be completed within 30 years or so," he was quoted by the Emirati newspaper The National as saying. "And we have no coal."

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said last week that he was preparing to announce plans to construct the country’s first nuclear power plant.

Cairo said the $4 billion power plant would start producing electricity by 2019. With hydrocarbons running scarce, Cairo added that it would work to get 20 percent of its energy needs through renewable resources by 2020.

(Source: upi)