Eni Discovers Huge Natural Gas Reserves at Zohr

By Chalamish, Efraim | Global Finance, October 1, 2015 | Go to article overview

Eni Discovers Huge Natural Gas Reserves at Zohr


Chalamish, Efraim, Global Finance


Eni, the Italian energy company that was unsuccessful in finding exploitable hydrocarbons in Cyprus, now has a major find on its hands elsewhere. On August 30, it announced it had discovered an immense natural gas field at the offshore Egyptian exploration site Zohr. It's the largest discovery in Egypt-and one of the biggest of the past decade, at an estimated 30 trillion cubic feet.

The gas will no doubt provide a substantial boost to the country's economy. Given the massive size of the deposits, some observers say the Zohr field could possibly derail other gas exploration projects in the Eastern Mediterranean region.

Egypt, with a population of about 86 million, has not been able to meet local demand for energy since the 2011 Arab Spring revolution. "Egypt will likely once again enter a period of energy self-sufficiency," notes energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie. "A moratorium on exports from new discoveries has long been in place. We expect all Zohr gas to supply the domestic market."

Even if Eni does not export the natural gas from Zohr, the discovery could have serious consequences for Egypt's neighbors. At the top of the list: Israel. The country's government has been trying for years to get legislators in the Knesset to greenlight production of offshore natural gas fields. …

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