After being granted five exploration permits last February – three oil and two gas concessions – the Anglo-Dutch major Shell is expected to start operating in Egypt in the second half of 2020.
It was an internal source, quoted on Friday, October 18 by Reuters, who disclosed the information without it having yet been confirmed by the firm. Earlier in the week, Gerald Schotman, Executive Vice President of Upstream Joint Ventures at Shell, said the company would also be « interested in any offshore oil and gas drilling offer », as it wanted to « strengthen its presence in Egypt ». In fact, the country has been seeking to accelerate its energy ambitions since the discovery of the offshore natural gas field Zohr 1 in 2015. Egypt has concluded a series of maritime demarcation agreements with several coastal States as part of its efforts to increase oil and gas exploration. It is in this context that four major companies – ENI, BP, Exxon Mobil and Shell – were granted twelve exploration permits by the Egyptian authorities at the beginning of the year. The forthcoming start of its operations in Egypt should in any case enable the Anglo-Dutch group to significantly increase the share of sub-Saharan Africa in its global oil production (only 7% of its current volumes, to 233,000 barrels/day in 2017) and to further strengthen its position as the world leader in liquefied natural gas (LNG) trading.
1Zohr is a gas field in the Mediterranean Sea, located 190 km off the coast of Egypt, whose discovery was announced in August 2015 by the Italian oil company ENI. With an estimated potential of 850 billion cubic metres of recoverable gas, it is the largest hydrocarbon deposit discovered in the region.