ROME (AP) — The Italian energy company Eni SpA said Sunday it has discovered a “supergiant” natural gas field off Egypt, describing it as the “largest-ever” found in the Mediterranean Sea.
The news came a day after Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi met in Cairo with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the Egyptian leader’s office said.
Eni said the discovery — made in its Zohr prospect “in the deep waters of Egypt” — could hold a potential 30 Tcf of gas over an area of 38.6 square miles.
The discovery well is about 120 miles from the Egyptian coast, and is at a depth of 4,757 feet in the Shorouk Block, the company said. The block is about 66 miles from Port Said.
“Zohr is the largest gas discovery ever made in Egypt and in the Mediterranean Sea and could become one of the world’s largest natural gas finds,” Eni said in a statement. “The discovery, after its full development, will be able to ensure satisfying Egypt’s natural gas demand for decades.”
“Eni will immediately appraise the field with the aim of accelerating a fast-track development of the discovery,” the energy company said.
Descalzi was quoted by Eni as saying that the discovery reconfirms that “Egypt still has great potential” energy-wise. He said “important synergies with the existing infrastructures can be exploited, allowing us a fast production startup.”
Eni has been in Egypt since 1954 through its subsidiary IEOC. It is the main hydrocarbon producer in Egypt, with a daily equity production of 200,000 bls of oil equivalent, the company said.
Egypt’s petroleum ministry said that the find was equal to about a third of Egypt’s current gas reserves.
“The Egyptian government is very happy with this find,” ministry spokesman Hamdi Abdelaziz said, adding that the gas would be extracted for domestic consumption only.
“We hope to become self-sufficient by 2020,” he added.