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EGYPT - The Oil Reserves.

The proven remaining oil reserves of Egypt are estimated independently at about 3.3 billion barrels, down from an official estimate of over 3.4 bn bls in late 1999 and 3.8 bn bls in late 1998. Oil discoveries in recent years have been developed quickly and linked to the production stream of the operating companies. The finds have been small and close to existing infrastructure making their development relatively less costly and rapid.

Egyptian executives tend to be optimistic about the actual reserves. Wafik Meshref, a former EGPC vice chairman and now a consultant to Pennzoil Egypt of the US, was quoted in late 1998 as saying that the proven remain-ing oil reserves then were 10 bn bls. In the 12th annual E&P conference in Cairo on Dec. 13, 1994, the meeting's chairman Shawqi Abdine said the real figure for recoverable oil reserves at the time were 9.6 bn bls and added: "We have a lot of oil to be found here. We have found just 10% or less", saying new oil reserves yet to be found could be as large as 130 bn bls.

Abdine, then chairman of the Gulf of Suez Co. (GUPCO), a 50-50 JV between BP Amoco and EGPC (the biggest oil producer in Egypt), said the Western Desert might yield 42 bn bls. He gave the following estimates for the other ares: 35 bn bls in the Gulf of Suez and Red Sea, 33 bn bls in the Nile Delta, and 20 bn bls in the Sinai peninsula. Meshref said in late 1998 the total of recoverable oil and gas reserves in Egypt's producing and non-producing was 167.8 bn bls oe.

Gas Reserves: Egypt's proven remaining reserves of natural gas have been constantly revised upwards by EGPC. On Aug. 18, 1999, then oil minister Hamdi El Banbi said they reached "over 40 TCF" - by far overtaking oil - compared to the official estimates of 36 TCF in mid-1999, 30 TCF in May 1997, 22.3 TCF in mid-1995, less than 14 TCF in 1993, below 10 TCF in 1990 and 2.2 TCF in 1974.

The 40+TCF break down regionally as follows: 27.3 TCF of non-associated gas, 68.3% of the total, in offshore Mediterranean blocks; 7.2 TCF of NA gas, 18.1%, in the Western Desert; 3.7 TCF of associated gas in the Gulf of Suez, Sinai and the Eastern Desert; and 1.8 TCF of NA gas, 4.5%, in the Nile Delta.

A further rise in official estimates is expected in 2000 and the subsequent years as large reserves discovered in 1999 are to be proven by the foreign operators. In July 1997 a EGPC official said the reserves would reach 50 TCF before 2003. During a Mediterranean gas conference in Cairo in December 1999, EGPC experts said the proven remaining gas reserves would exceed 50 TCF by end-2000 and would reach 80 TCF by 2017.

According to GUPCO, a geochemical study of the Abu Al Gharadiq Basin in the Western Desert indicates it might contain 45 TCF of gas reserves, including 25 TCF in the Cretaceous. Another GUPCO study suggests that the Matruh, Alamein and Faghur regions of the Western Desert, north of Abu Al Gharadiq, could have potential reserves of up to 90 TCF. One study of the offshore potential says the Mediterranean basin of Egypt, Libya and Tunisia has one of the highest prospects for non-associated gas in the world. The study, according to Farouq Kenawi (then chairman of GUPCO and until 1994 chairman of Petrobel - the 50-50 JV between Agip and EGPC), indicates that the area has a gas reserve potential equal to 7.4 bn bls of oil. Of that, Egypt's share would be equal to 4.5 bn bls oe.

Proven remaining gas reserves overtook those of oil in fiscal 1993/94, as the crude oil reserves were officially put by EGPC at 475.8m tons and the gas reserves were put at 502m tons oe. In fiscal 1997/98, EGPC reported proven oil reserves at 415.2m tons and gas reserves at 777.8m tons oe. In fiscal 1997/98, oil production fell to 40.7m tons (from a peak of 45.2m in 1993/94) and gas production rose to 13.2m tons oe (from 2.4m tons oe in 1981/82 and a mere 4.5 MCF/day in 1974).
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Publication:APS Review Gas Market Trends
Geographic Code:7EGYP
Date:Jan 3, 2000
Words:735
Previous Article:EGYPT - The Western Desert.
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