This week Egypt’s Oil Ministry announced that Italian oil company Eni will begin exploratory drilling in the Noor gas field as early as August. The Noor gas field may contain larger gas reserves than the Zohr oil field, which since its discovery in 2015 has transformed energy in Egypt.
Read more about how Egypt is reshaping energy in the eastern Mediterranean in this week’s email, including other news you may have missed in the last week about Egypt, the Egypt-U.S. partnership, and other relevant issues. In this round-up:
- Exploratory Drilling to Commence at New Mega Gas Field Discovery Offshore North Sinai, Possibly Bigger than Zohr
- 580-Megawatt Red Sea Wind Farm Set to Go Online, Among World’s Largest
- Moody’s: Egyptian Fuel Subsidy Reform is Credit Positive
- Grand Egyptian Museum Nears Completion
- Restoration of Historic Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue 50% Complete
We hope you enjoy.
EXPLORATORY DRILLING TO COMMENCE AT NEW MEGA GAS FIELD DISCOVERY OFFSHORE NORTH SINAI, POSSIBLY BIGGER THAN ZOHR
Italian oil company Eni will begin drilling an exploratory well at its Noor gas field concession located in the Mediterranean offshore North Sinai by August, according to Reuters. The Noor gas field has the potential to be another major Mediterranean natural gas discovery for Egypt, following the 2015 discovery of the Zohr natural gas field, now the largest in the Mediterranean. Initial speculation has posited that the Noor field could contain reserves up to three times bigger than Zohr. According toEgypt Today, Egypt plans to stop importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) by the end of fiscal year 2017/2018 by adding 1.6 million cubic feet to its production from its latest gas discoveries, including West Delta’s Taurus and Libra fields, as well as the Atoll and Zohr gas fields.
580-MEGAWATT RED SEA WIND FARM SET TO GO ONLINE, AMONG WORLD’S LARGEST
This weekend, the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy will inaugurate one of the largest wind farms in the world. With an overall capacity of 580MW and a total of 300 turbines, the $625 million wind farm is among the world’s largest in terms of area, number of turbines, and generating capacity. Located in the Red Sea area of Gabel El Zeit, the new wind project comes as part of the government’s ongoing initiative to diversify into more renewable energy sources, despite major breakthrough discoveries of natural gas. According to Ahram Online, the new project includes a migratory bird monitoring system designed shut down the turbines when birds’ migratory routes run through the area of the wind farm. The Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy continues to work towards a goal of Egypt generating 20% of its power from renewable sources by 2022 and 42% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025.
MOODY’S: EGYPTIAN FUEL SUBSIDY REFORM IS CREDIT POSITIVE
Moody’s Investors Service reported that the price hike in fuels following last week’s subsidy cuts is credit positive. Price and subsidy cuts to reduce pressure on government spending are some of Egypt’s main economic goals as it proceeds with a series of sweeping economic reforms in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund, and will help Egypt meet the agreed target for a fiscal deficit of 8.4% of GDP in FY 2018/2019, from around 9.8% of GDP in FY 2017/2018. “The brightening economic and employment outlook in Egypt provides a better basis for acceptance of the new reforms by highlighting the economic benefits of successful reform implementation after an inevitable adjustment phase,” Moody’s stated. According to Arab Finance, newly appointed Finance Minister Mohamed Maeet indicated that “the fuel subsidy bill would have increased to EGP180 billion (3.5% of GDP) by FY 2018/2019 because of an increase in oil prices, thereby jeopardizing the government’s planned fiscal consolidation.” The government plans to eliminate all fuel subsidies (excluding subsidies applied to liquefied natural gas) by the end of 2019.
GRAND EGYPTIAN MUSEUM NEARS COMPLETION
This week, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly confirmed that construction at the much-anticipated Grand Egyptian Museum will be complete in two weeks, according to the State Information Service(SIS). As CNN recently reported, “the 5.2-million-square-foot structure will become the world’s largest museum devoted to a single civilization,” and will include over 100,000 artifacts. Speaking at a press conference at the site of the project, PM Madbouly also praised development of the Giza Pyramids plateau area, which he said is set to be one of the world’s largest cultural and touristic projects along with the historic Grand Egyptian Museum. Both efforts demonstrate the Government of Egypt’s continued push to improve tourism and the economy.
RESTORATION OF HISTORIC ELIYAHU HANAVI SYNAGOGUE 50% COMPLETE
General Director of Islamic, Coptic and Jewish Antiquities Mohamed Metwali said this week that the restoration of the Eliyahu Hanavi synagogue, which was built in 1354 AD in Alexandria is 50% complete, according to Al Masry Al Youm. Although the Eliyahu Hanavi synagogue was included in the World Monuments Fund’s 2018 list of monuments at risk, restorations are making significant improvements to the synagogue’s copper collections, candlesticks, metal chandeliers, as well as replacing the old marble floors with new ones. Services are still held at the synagogue, and Metwali assured that its historic Torah scrolls are in good condition and in a safe place while the restoration is in progress. The restoration is part of the Government of Egypt’s well-funded efforts to restore many historical landmarks.