CAIRO: A recently discovered gas source in Egypt’s Western Sahara desert could produce about 12 million cubic feet per day.
“It was a recent discovery made by Badr El Din Petroleum Co. [and announced] at their general assembly meeting…as part of their 2010/11 fiscal year financial results,” Kholoud Hussein, a press representative from the Ministry of Petroleum, told Daily News Egypt.
The site will produce about 5,000 barrels of condensed gas per day and production is expected to start in November, according to a report by Egynews.net.
“I believe that this is a good amount, it may not be a lot, but if this is a new discovery that was not taken into reserves, which are about 70 trillion cubic feet, then this is a great new asset,” Mohab Hallouda, senior energy specialist at the World Bank, told Daily News Egypt.
According to Magda Kandil, executive director of the Egyptian Center for Economic Studies, Egypt has recently seen a shortage of gas and natural resources for a number reasons including high electricity usage, government subsidies on energy prices, and the country’s exports of gas at undervalued prices.
While Jordan recently agreed to sign a new gas deal with Egypt that would modify the price, Israel continues to receive gas from Egypt under a 20-year deal signed since 2005.
According to Noran Ali, petroleum analyst, Israel is said to receive gas from Egypt for $3, which is well under the standard international price of $4.
In May, the government said it would not raise electricity prices, thus, according to Kandil encouraging consumers to use more electricity instead of cutting back at a time when resources are scarce.
Hallouda pointed out that this new discovery, however, should help alleviate the situation as recent changes in the country have taken place.
“This should help, although these days, due to the disruption of gas imports to Jordan and Israel, we have not been really seeing a shortage like we were before,” he added.
The recent gas source is not Badr El Din Company’s only discovery this year.
“Over the past year we have made three oil discoveries that produce at a rate of 4,500 barrels of oil per day,” said Mohamed Nagi, chairman of the company.
Nagi pointed out that the company had developed 22 wells on a new production map, producing about 14,000 barrels of crude oil per day and 160 million cubic feet of gas per day, according to Egynews.net.
The new “production map” resulted in boosting the company’s production to more than 40,000 barrels of crude oil per day as well as increasing the gas production levels to 435 million cubic feet.
According to Nagi, the company has been carrying extensive drilling in the area in order to increase their chances of finding new discoveries. So far, the company has drilled 34 wells during the last year.
The company aims to drill 44 exploratory and development wells during fiscal year 2011/12 in order to further increase their production rates.
Seen as a rich area with potential for vast discoveries, several efforts have been made to excavate the natural resources hidden in the depths of Egypt’s Western Sahara desert.
In June, American oil company Apache Corporation discovered five new oil wells in the Faghur Basin in the far southwest of Egypt’s Western Desert oil and gas province.
According to a statement released by the company, in just one of their digging tests, the discoveries included 7,150 barrels of oil per day and 11.4 million cubic feet of gas per day.
Egypt’s gas sources currently represent 1 percent of the total world’s resource.