Baker Hughes gets in on Egyptian natural gas bonanza

Drilling services company to help develop production systems for one of the largest natural gas fields in the world.
By Daniel J. Graeber  |  Sept. 11, 2017 at 6:32 AM
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Sept. 11 (UPI) -- A contract to provide services for the giant Zohr natural gas field off the Egyptian coast is a win-win for its economy and our business, Baker Hughes said.

Drilling services company Baker Hughes, a GE company, said during the weekend it secured a contract from Petrobel, a joint venture between a subsidiary of Italian energy company Eni and the Egyptian General Petroleum Corp., for work on underwater production systems for the Zohr field.

"The Zohr field is one of the most significant developments of its kind, and through this project we can show the efficiency gains that such complex projects can achieve through our enhanced portfolio," Lorenzo Simonelli, the president and CEO at Baker Hughes, said in a statement. "This project has the potential to meet Egypt's growing gas demand and save the country billions of dollars that would otherwise be spent on importing gas."

Eni made its initial gas discovery in the Zohr field in August 2015 and quickly described it as the largest made in regional waters and potentially the largest in the world. According to consultant group Wood Mackenzie, the Egyptian gas market "will be inundated" with new volumes from some of those discoveries and production levels should reach a record of 7.3 billion cubic feet per day within six years.

The government in Cairo aims to craft the country as a regional hub for gas and liquefied natural gas, though availability at the domestic sector could complicate growth.

Eni last year sold off a 30 percent stake in the Egyptian basin to Russian energy company Rosneft, which said it would facilitate gas exports from Egypt for the European market.

Egyptian Petroleum Minister Tarek ElMolla said developments at the Zohr natural gas field are boosting the national economy and domestic energy sector.

"Maximizing domestic energy resources and optimizing reliability of their supplies are core elements of Egypt's vision," he said.

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