According to the latest Bloomberg report, Egypt plans to import as many as 108 cargoes of LNG this year as the country prepares to start producing at two gas fields and move closer to its goal of self-sufficiency and even exports by 2019.
Egypt will import 100 to 108 LNG shipments this year, including 43 to 45 cargoes in contracts from Oman, Russia’s Rosneft PJSC and France’s Engie SA.
Imports may be reduced in 2018 as BP Plc’s North Alexandria concession works to start gas production in April and Eni SpA’s giant Zohr field plans to produce by the end of the year. BP bought a 10% stake in Zohr from Eni last year, giving it access to the largest discovery in the Mediterranean Sea amid a regional race for offshore oil and gas deposits.
Egypt was a net exporter of LNG until 2014, when declining output and power shortages resulting from political upheaval forced the country to divert fuel for its own use and turned the most populous Arab nation into a net importer. Zohr, which Eni discovered last year, has an estimated reserve of about 850 billion m3 of natural gas in place. The government expects the deposit to help ease Egypt’s energy shortage and allow it to resume exports.
Egypt started to export limited amounts of LNG from the Idku plant in September to keep equipment at the terminal running, and it plans to run the facility on the Mediterranean coast at full capacity for export in 2020 or 2021.
Gas exports would bring much needed foreign cash to Egypt. Costs have risen sharply since November, when the government allowed the pound to float and raised interest rates in a bid to restore confidence in an economy badly affected by political turmoil in 2011.
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