Egypt Revives Natural Gas Project Shell Abandoned, Minister Says

Egypt is to revive a natural gas project that was abandoned by Royal Dutch Shell Plc as it seeks to boost its production capacity of the fuel, Abdullah Ghorab, the country’s energy minister, said.

The North African state will award in June a contract to produce gas from an offshore field that was abandoned by Shell after it spent $1.5 billion on developing it, he said today in an interview in Doha, Qatar.

“There is a lot of local objections on letting international oil companies operate in Egypt, but we are benefiting without paying any money,” he said. “Shell developed the field at its cost and left and now we are going to retender the project for someone else.”

The project will add one trillion cubic feet of gas to Egypt’s reserves, he said.

Egypt is expecting to add a further 5 trillion cubic feet of gas to its reserves through a project with BP Plc off the coast of Egypt. The minister said that the project will pump one billion cubic feet a day when production starts in 2014.

“This is a real deep-water project that we are executing right now,” Ghorab said.

Egypt has a capacity of 6 billion cubic feet a day of natural gas, he said. The country’s exports 24 percent of that in the form of liquefied natural gas, he said.

Egypt will also work to enhance the security of its natural gas export pipeline to Israel and Jordan after it was attacked several times this year, Ghorab said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Wael Mahdi in Doha at wmahdi@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net

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