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EGYPT - Part 1 - Pace Of Gas Discoveries Overtakes That Of Oil Finds:.

Egypt is becoming a major producer of natural gas, with oil production in steady decline, and the pace of gas discoveries has overtaken that of oil finds. As the foreign operators keep finding big reserves of gas and the oil discoveries are small, Egypt has adopted an integrated strategy to export gas in liquid form and by pipeline as well as accelerate its shift from oil to gas for domestic energy and industrial feedstocks.

A total of about 150 oil and gas discoveries have been made in Egypt since the previous record of 1996, and most of them are rich fields of natural gas. The chances of foreign companies finding major oil reserves have declined. Most of the known oil basins have reached maturity. The big players among the foreign operators in the country are concentrating exploration on gas-bearing zones. Some of these zones have proved to be among the richest in the world (see geological profile on the following pages and exploration in Gas Market Trends).

The shift to natural gas for domestic fuel and industrial feedstocks has helped in a rapid expansion of Egypt's energy base. There was a surplus in the petroleum sector's balance of payments in 2001 (see DT).

Egypt's oil production has fallen from a peak of 950,000 b/d in the third quarter of 1995 to less than 750,000 b/d and the annual average for 2002 could drop to 720,000 b/d. Despite the fact that the state-owned Egyptian General Petroleum Corp. (EGPC) has a large number of foreign partners producing oil, their output has declined steadily since 1995. BP, the largest oil producer, is trying to keep its low output of less than 300,000 b/d from falling further in the Gulf of Suez during the coming six years (see fields and operators' profiles in Part 2).

The government in October 1999 decided to speed up plans for the export of natural gas by pipelines and in LNG form. There are at least four different LNG export projects and proposals for three export pipelines (see Part 3).

Led by Petroleum Minister Sameh Fahmi, the decision makers for this sector are now geared to maximising gas economics for both the domestic market and exports. With foreign companies announcing gas discoveries every month, the decision makers have the green light from the top political leadership. President Mubarak is the champion of Egypt's rapid socio-economic development and its leap into the technological challenges of the 21st century (see who's who in Part 4).
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Publication:APS Review Oil Market Trends
Date:Dec 31, 2001
Previous Article:Review of Non-OPEC States that Have Agreed to Cooperate in OPEC's Oil Price Defence Efforts.
Next Article:EGYPT - The Oil Market Perspective.

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