Egypt’s petroleum ministry has announced a new gas discovery in the Nile Delta region with an estimated production of 20 million cubic feet per day.

Officials believe that recent events in the country’s natural gas sector of the country is putting it on the world map as an energy hub in the African region

The discovery of gas-carrying layers was made by Petrobel-Belayim, an Egyptian petroleum company which manages gas and oil projects in the area, a statement from the ministry said recently. The company commenced exploration in the El Qaraa area of the Nile Delta which began in May.

The statement said that with the major discovery, Petrolbel-Belayim will further develop and put the well on stream once it is linked to production facilities. Egypt has been making spirited efforts towards pushing its gas sector to world stage and become a regional gas hub for the trade of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). After major gas discoveries in recent years, including the Zohr gas field in 2015, Egypt announced self-sufficiency in natural gas consumption last year with a gradual increase in local production.

“The plan is to develop major gas fields in the Mediterranean in cooperation with giant international companies,” the statement said. After the completion and operation of the gas field projects nationwide, Egypt’s natural gas output is expected to reach eight billion cubic feet per day during the fiscal year 2019/2020, officials say

The eight billion cubic feet target was decided a few months after officials said the country’s natural gas output had reached 6.6 billion cubic feet per day due to an increase in production at Zohr. The field represents the largest natural gas discovery ever made in Egypt and the Mediterranean, with an estimated 30 trillion cubic feet of gas.

Also on Tuesday, Italy’s oil giant Eni announced that production from South West Meleiha Development Lease, located in the Egyptian Western Desert, has started. The current production through two wells stands expected to reach 7,000 BOPD in September, Eni said in a statement.

More exploration wells are now planned to be drilled on the nearby prospects within the exploration area, it added. Another oil discovery was made in the Gulf of Suez on the Sidri South exploration prospect, with up to 200 million barrels of oil potential

Eni has been present in Egypt since 1954 and has estimated overall investments of 13 billion U.S. dollars in Egypt since 2015.

Egypt is Africa’s largest oil producer outside of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the third-largest natural gas producer on the continent (following Algeria and Nigeria). The North African country has the sixth-largest proved oil reserves in the continent, over half of which are offshore.

Although the North African nation is not a member of OPEC, it belongs to the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries [OAPEC].

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