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Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…

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Egypt to Increase NatGas Production by 30% by 2019

Riding high on a series of major discoveries and what appears to be renewed investor interest in Egypt’s energy sector, the Oil Ministry is now targeting a 30-percent increase in natural gas production by 2019.

Egypt’s oil minister has announced a new plan to raise its natural gas production to 5.5-6 billion cubic feet per day (980 million to 1.1 billion barrels a day) by the end of 2019 in line with global demand forecasts.

It’s an important goal for Egypt, which has become a net oil and gas importer since oil prices started to crash in mid-2014.

Related: Is OPEC A U.S. National Security Threat?

But recent discoveries have revived Egypt’s energy status and should spur these ambitious goals along.

Twelve natural gas fields in the North African country are undergoing development as part of a set of projects estimated to be worth US$33 billion.

The Zohr gas field, discovered by the Italian oil giant Eni last year, and two other sites will collectively bring in more than two-thirds of the oil Egypt aims to produce by 2019.

Related: Oil Prices Spike Ahead Of Inventory Reports

The country spends an estimated $795 million per month importing energy to meet demand - more than one-third of which has been spent on natural gas purchases.

A new floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU), which the Oil Ministry said would be leased by June 2017, will allow Egypt to convert liquefied natural gas (LNG) back to its gaseous state so that it can be used to supply Egypt’s power grid during the summer months.

The increased use of air conditioning and other cooling devices has previously caused mass power outages in the struggling democracy.

By Zainab Calcutawala for Oilprice.com

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