Egypt will cease importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) before the end of 2018, the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Tarek El Molla, stated, according to Al Ahram Gate.

The country will, however, continue to import LNG through the first half of 2018 according to its current contracts with international companies, El Molla added.

Natural gas production is rising, El Molla said. The Libra and Taurus fields added 700 million standard cubic feet per day (mscf/d) of natural gas to production earlier this year, Egypt Oil & Gas previously reported.

The mega Zohr natural gas field, alone, should add one billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) after it is fully developed, El Molla noted. Earlier this year, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail predicted that production from the field would reach 500 mscf/d of natural gas by the end of 2017, Al Ahram Gate reported.

The BP operated Atoll field is also projected to come online before the end of the year with a production capability of 300 mscf/d, Amwal Al Ghad reported earlier this month.

The Egyptian Natural Gas Holding (EGAS) plans to purchase 12 cargoes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to be delivered early next year, Reuters recently reported.