CAIRO, Mar 2 (Aswat Masriya) – Egypt will double its natural gas production by the second quarter of 2017 as a result of 2015's discoveries, Prime Minster Sherif Ismail said on Tuesday.
In August 2015, Italian oil and gas company Eni made discoveries of gas that reach a potential of 15 billion cubic feet in Egypt's Delta region.
Eni revealed what it described at the time as the "largest gas discovery ever made in Egypt and in the Mediterranean Sea", in reference to the discovery of Zohr field.
The upsurge in production will contribute to advancing development projects in various fields, particularly the industrial field, Ismail said during a meeting with members of the association of 10th of Ramadan investors.
The 10th of Ramadan City is an industrial city established under President Anwar Sadat in the 1970s with the aim of attracting foreign investment and creating jobs.
Egypt relies heavily on natural gas for electricity generation in households and factories.
Ismail added that the upcoming period will require an increase in the resources available to the state budget in order for the state to realise its objectives. The current budget provides only EGP 164 billion (around $21 billion) for spending, with EGP 700 billion (around $89 billion) allocated for servicing the debt, as well as paying wages and subsidies.
"There is no substitute for reform, especially in the administrative field, in order to achieve our development goals," Ismail said.
Dubbed as the "supergiant" by Eni, its Chief Executive Officer Claudio Descalzi described Zohr as a "historic discovery" that "will be able to transform the energy scenario of Egypt."
Ismail was the petroleum minister during the time of the discovery.
Since the 2011 Uprising that toppled long-serving President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt has been hit by a number of energy shortage crises that caused electricity blackouts and sparked public anger. The crisis relatively eased in the second half of 2015 after the government adopted an emergency energy plan.
Eni has operated in Egypt since 1954 where it is a major oil and gas producer, supplying a little over a quarter of Egypt’s annual oil and annual gas production.