June 23 (UPI) -- Russian energy company Rosneft is expected to start exporting natural gas from an Egyptian field considered to be among the world's largest.
Eni made its initial gas discovery in the Zohr field in Egypt two years ago and quickly described it as the largest ever made in regional waters and potentially the largest in the world. Egypt aims to become a regional hub for gas and liquefied natural gas, though availability at the domestic sector could complicate growth.
In December, the Italian company sold off a 30 percent stake in the Egyptian basin to Rosneft in an agreement valued at about $1.6 billion.
A source close to the company was quoted by Russian news agency Tass as saying Rosneft aims to deliver gas to regional markets.
"We will certainly export gas from, in particular to the European market, and to the countries of the Middle East, depending on the economic attractiveness of export options," the source was quoted as saying.
Russia is already a dominant player in the European energy market, sparking competition concerns in the region. European leaders are aiming to diversify the energy mix though a pipeline network from Azerbaijan dubbed the Southern Corridor. Poland, meanwhile, recently received its first cargo of liquefied natural gas sources from U.S. shale basins.
Russia meets about 30 percent of Italy's gas needs and is working to expand its shipment networks in Europe.
For Egypt, consultant group Wood Mackenzie found the country's energy sector is on pace for profound changes over the next five years. An early 2017 report found the Egyptian gas market "will be inundated" with new volumes from some of those discoveries. Production levels should reach a record of 7.3 billion cubic feet per day within six years.