Egypt plans to offer a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import tender during the first quarter of 2018, the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Tarek El Molla, told Bloomberg.

The tender will be for LNG imports during the second quarter.

Production from Zohr, along with other natural gas fields, should permit Egypt to end its imports of natural gas sometime next year, Al Ahram Gate previously reported.

Before it reaches the point of natural gas sufficiency, however, Egypt will need to continue importing natural gas during the first half of the year. The country plans to import twelve cargoes of LNG during the first quarter of 2018, according to Reuters.

The government expects that Egypt will become a net exporter in 2019, Bloomberg reports.

The work at Zohr demonstrates to “all multinationals that we can do extremely well when we talk about giant discoveries – big projects to be developed and brought on stream in a relatively very short period of time,” El Molla stated, according to Bloomberg.

He credited the government’s new flexible-pricing regime with increasing international investments in Egypt’s oil and gas resources.

“In the past, we had a fixed price and there was no work at offshore fields,” the minster noted, adding that “[w]hen we started putting in a flexible formula, we have seen more encouraged and interesting upstreamers, and hence we have been able to have lots of discoveries,” Bloomberg reports.