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Egypt to spend $3bn on E&P this year

Egypt plans to invest $3bn in the Nile Delta and Mediterranean Sea

Egypt will spend $3bn on new exploration and development wells in 2010, oil minister Sameh Fahmy said last month. In total, 556 wells are planned: 520 oil wells and 36 natural gas wells, in the Nile Delta and offshore Mediterranean

The government is determined to build on last year's success. Proved natural reserves rose to 77.2 trillion cubic feet (cf) in 2008/09 fiscal year, up from 76.6 trillion cf; while reserves of crude oil and condensates rose to 4.4bn barrels from 4.3bn barrels, according to government figures.

Last month, Egyptian Drilling, a subsidiary of state-owned Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC), secured a seven-year syndicated term loan for $250m to finance the purchase of a new offshore Baker Marine Pacific jack-up rig. However, Egypt has also said it will not sign any new gas-export contracts during 2010 to ensure it can satisfy rising local demand. EGPC is assessing bids offered in November 2009 for 11 blocks in the Gulf of Suez and the southwestern desert.

Meanwhile, exploration efforts by foreign companies are also gaining momentum. The year started with a new oil find announced in the Komobo concession in the south of the country by the UAE's Dana Gas. The company drilled a new well, Al Baraka-4, at the end of 2009, to a depth of 1,470 metres. Tests produced 1,300 b/d of oil when artificial-lift techniques were used to boost production, according to Dana Gas. The company says it will expand its exploration programme at the Komobo concession.

Other firms made discoveries in January. US independent Apache said it had made a sixth find in the Western desert, near the Libyan border. The WKAL-A-2X discovery tested 5,085 barrels of oil and 130,000 cf/d of gas – the fourth successful exploration test in West Kalabasha Concession and the company's sixth discovery in the Faghur Basin play.

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