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Saipem tapped for work in giant gas field offshore Egypt

Italian company lands more than a billion dollars in contracts, with the bulk going to Mediterranean work.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Saipem tapped for work in giant gas field offshore Egypt
Italy's Saipem secured a package of contracts to work on developing one of the largest gas fields ever made in the Mediterranean Sea. Photo by James Jones Jr./Shutterstock

MILAN, Italy, July 7 (UPI) -- One of the most significant parts of a package of deals worth more than $1.5 billion is for a contract tied to a gas field offshore Egypt, Italy's Saipem said.

Italian company Saipem secured a package of deals valued at $1.6 billion for engineering and construction at offshore projects, the most significant of which is for work associated with the Zohr natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea.

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"We are very pleased to have been selected for the important objective of delivering first gas from Zohr before the end of 2017," Saipem CEO Stefano Cao said in a statement.

Eni, Saipem's exploration and production counterpart in Italy, discovered the Zohr field in August using a drillship commissioned from Saipem.

Egypt is the largest oil producer in Africa that's not a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and the largest gas producer. After making the discovery last year, Eni quickly described the Zohr field as the largest ever made in regional waters and potentially the largest in the world.

Eni was granted a development lease for the Zohr offshore field in early 2016. The company said the development plan calls for production to start next year, with the potential to produce about 500,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day by 2019.

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Eni signed an agreement with the Egyptian government to explore the field in January 2014. A framework deal signed last year called for up to $5 billion in total investments in offshore Egypt.

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