BP announced in a press release that it has signed a Heads of Agreement (HoA) with the Egyptian Minister of Petroleum, Tarek El Molla, regarding the acceleration of the development of the recent Atoll gas discovery.

Discovered in March 2015, Atoll, 100% owned by BP, is an offshore field in the North Damietta Concession, in the East Nile Delta.

The agreement is expected to enable production to begin in 2018, producing an estimated 1.5 tcf of gas resources and 31 mmbbl of condensates in the Atoll field to the domestic market, with production anticipated to begin in 2018.

Development of Atoll will be executed and operated by Pharaonic Petroleum Co. (PhPC), BP’s joint venture with EGAS and Eni.

Commenting on the agreement, BP Group CEO, Bob Dudley, said, “We are pleased to be making rapid progress towards the development of Atoll less than eight months after the announcement of its discovery. This is further demonstration of our continued confidence in Egypt – a key growth area for BP – and our commitment to continue to invest to unlock its energy potential.”

Full field development of Atoll is expected to consist of two phases. The first phase will consist of two development wells tied back to existing infrastructure, with production expected to start up in 2018. Success of this first phase is expected to trigger additional investment and further wells to increase production.

Hesham Mekawi, BP North Africa Regional President said, “BP is proud of its longstanding partnership with Egypt over the past 50 years. Today’s agreement, which will bring additional production to the Egyptian domestic market and help to meet Egypt’s energy demands, is another important milestone for BP in Egypt following our recently announced West Nile Delta major project.”

BP expects to sustain its current oil production and double its gas production in Egypt before the end of the decade to reach 2.5bcfd with partners, which represents more than 50% of Egypt’s current gas production.