In what it calls as its “largest-ever” discovery in the Mediterranean Sea, Italian energy company Eni SpA (NYSE: E) announced that it had found a “super giant” natural gas field off the coast of Egypt. The discovery was made in the Zohr Prospect in the Shorouk block, an area which Eni holds the entire license to.
According to the oil company, the deposit in the deep waters of Egypt covers around 100 square kilometers and may potentially hold 30 trillion cubic feet of gas. This is equivalent to about 5.5 billion barrels of oil.
The Italian major made the discovery at a depth of 1,450 meters and located 190 kilometers from the coast. It forecasts that the find could supply the gas needs of Egypt for decades once it has been fully developed. This is good news for Egypt which has dealt with unrest due to shortages of gas and oil.
In a statement, Eni 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.”
The company said it plans to fast-track development of the find. Eni Chief Executive Officer Claudio Descalzi was quoted as saying that there are “important synergies with the existing infrastructures” that they can use to quickly begin production.
Eni, which is 30 percent controlled by Italy, has been operating in Egypt since 1954 through IEOC, its subsidiary. According to the company, it is the main producer of hydrocarbon in the country, with an output of 200,000 barrels of oil equivalent every day.
On Saturday, Descalzi met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to talk about the latest discovery. He called the discovery “historic” that will be able to “transform the energy scenario of Egypt.”
He also said that the find affirmed the “great potential” of Egypt in terms of energy production. Egypt used to be a gas exporter but has become an importer in the past few years.
Meanwhile, the petroleum ministry of Egypt confirmed the find and said that it was equivalent to around a third of the country’s current reserves. Ministry spokesman Hamdi Abdelaziz said, “The Egyptian government is very happy with this find.”
He added that the gas is meant to be consumed domestically and that the country hopes to become self-sufficient by the year 2020. The government was not yet able to give the monetary equivalent of Eni’s latest discovery.