The recent discoveries of the Zohr and North Alexandria fields will make Egypt a regional center for oil and gas, Egyptian Petroleum Minister, Tarek El Molla said in a report by Egypt Independent.

The Minister says that Egypt hopes to achieve energy self-sufficiency between 2020 and 2022. As such, Egypt would reduce imports and develop the assets needed to become a regional energy hub between the Middle East, Africa and the Mediterranean.

The minister says that the Zohr field will start production at the end of 2017 and will produce between 700 mscfd and 1,000 mscfd, which will increase to 2,700 mscfd by 2019. Egypt has faced a deficit of gas in recent years, being forced to import. The Minister says that factories which had slowed or stopped production due to lack of energy, particularly in the fertilizer, steel and petrochemical fields, have restarted operations.

The discovery of the Northern Alexandria field will further contribute to Egypt’s energy supply. The field will begin production in 2017 with 450 mscfd and will reach 1.2 bcf by 2019.

The minister said that foreign investments in Egyptian petroleum and mineral resources hit $7.8b in FY 2014-2015. In 2015-2016, investments are expected to be between $8 and $8.5b.