EGYPT: Oil and gas reserves reach highest levels ever
With 18.3 billion barrels of oil, Egypt has achieved its highest-ever proven oil reserves during the 2009-2010 fiscal year ending last June, the state's official MENA agency announced.
Crossing the 18 billion barrels margin, despite increasing local consumption, is an impressive national milestone after the nation's reserves stood as low as 11.8 billion barrels in fiscal year 1999-2000, according to the report issued by the Egyptian Petroleum Authority and quoted by MENA.
In 2009, gas was the dominant fuel for Egypt, accounting for an estimated 50% of primary energy demand, followed by oil at 43.1%.
Minister of Petroleum Sameh Fahmi stressed that the current figures are the highest in Egypt's history, adding that proven reserves are expected to reach 20 billion barrels over the next two years.
The Egyptian Petroleum Authority report cited sustained development of exploration and drilling programs and expanding the search for oil into various regions across Egypt. The news comes as Egypt is also looking at nuclear power to meet the country's rising energy demands.
Egypt penned oil agreements with a number of international corporations at a value of $8 billion in 2009-2010. Another deal struck with Germany's RWE in July to develop offshore fields, which will supply up to 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas by 2014, was worth $9 billion.
Foreign investment in the field of oil and gas exploration in Egypt has reached $16.3 billion last year. Business Monitor International recently forecast that Egypt will account for 10.34% of the Middle East and Africa's regional power generation by 2014, expecting an increase in Egyptian electricity generation of 43.7% during the coming four years.
--Amro Hassan in Cairo
Photo: An offshore oil rig in Egypt. Credit: Associated Press