Egypt’s giant gas field Zohr to start output by end of 2017: minister

Egypt aims to start natural gas production from its massive offshore Zohr gas field at the end of 2017, Oil Minister Tarek el-Molla said Sunday.

General Electric’s Baker Hughes energy services firm signed Saturday a major subsea contract with Egypt’s Petrobel for the second phase of Zohr gas field.

Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi said earlier in August that Zohr field was expected to produce some 500 million square feet (46.5 million cubic meters) of gas by the end of the current year.

Once an energy exporter, Egypt’s domestic production has failed to keep pace with growing demand in recent years, forcing the country to resort to imports.

Super-giant Zohr gas field, discovered by Eni in 2015, is in the Shorouk concession. Located in Mediterranean Sea, the field is estimated to hold 30 trillion cubic feet (850 billion cubic metres) of gas.

The field should help alleviate Egypt’s severe energy shortage and save the country billions of dollars spent on imports.

In May, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said he expected that a number of recently discovered gas fields should save Egypt some $3.6 billion yearly.