Italian energy group Eni says it has found one of the world’s largest natural gas fields off Egypt’s coast.
The company said the area was 1,450m (4,757 feet) beneath the surface and covered 100 sq km (39 sq miles).
It could hold as much as 30 trillion cubic feet of gas, or 5.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent, Eni said.
The company says that the Zohr field “could become one of the world’s largest natural-gas finds” and help meet Egypt’s gas needs for decades.
Eni’s CEO Claudio Descalzi recently travelled to Egypt to update President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi on Eni’s discovery and to discuss it with Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab and Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Sherif Ismail. Descalzi stated that finding this gas field in Egypt is strategic for the company, adding value to the discovery because “important synergies with the existing infrastructures can be exploited allowing [Eni] a fast production startup.””This historic discovery will be able to transform the energy scenario of Egypt,” said Descalzi.
Eni, which has full concession rights to the area, is the biggest foreign energy firm in Africa.
In June, it signed an energy exploration deal with Egypt’s oil ministry worth $2bn (£1.5bn) allowing the company to explore in Sinai, the Gulf of Suez, the Mediterranean and areas in the Nile Delta.
Eni’s find follows other significant gas discoveries in the Mediterranean in recent years, including by Egypt’s neighbour Israel.