LNG in Egypt

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Natural gas has become an important element of Egypt's economy over the last decades, with liquefied natural gas (LNG) playing a major role since the start-up of the first three LNG trains between 2004 and 2006. Although natural gas exploration in Egypt is relatively recent compared to oil, natural gas production, domestic consumption and exports have risen considerably since oil production peaked in the 1990s. Egypt is the second largest producer of natural gas in Africa, with LNG making up 70 percent of the the country's natural gas exports, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.[1]

While gas reserves marked a drastic increase from 63 billion cubic meters (bcm) in 1975 to 2,210 bcm in 2009, LNG has grown more important for both the domestic market and for Egypt's exports. LNG shipping from Egypt commenced in 2004 at around 2.3 bcm and increased to approximately 15 bcm in 2008, but has fallen considerably since.[2] By the end of 2011, Egypt was exporting 8.6 bcm with almost half of this figure going to Europe, according to the BP Statistical Review. Spain was the largest recipient of natural gas for the same year at 2.3 bcm, followed by France at 0.9 bcm.[3] Other recipients of LNG from Egypt included Asian and Pacific countries (26 percent) and North America (8.6 percent).[4]

Egypt's two LNG facilities, in Idku and Damietta which are both located at the Mediterranean coast, have a combined export capacity of about 17 bcm.[5] The Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) issued a tender offer in 2012 to establish another LNG terminal along either the Mediterranean or Red Sea coast, to increase the Egypt's LNG capacity. Despite plans to increase exports, Oil Minister Osama Kamal announced in November 2012 that the country would start importing gas by May 2013 due to rapidly increasing local demand, turning Egypt from a gas-exporting country to one that is gas-importing.[6]

References

  1. "EIA Country Profile" US Energy Information Administration, retrieved 31 March 2013.
  2. "Mediterranean Energy Perspectives Egypt" Observatoire Méditerranéen de l'Energie, 2011.
  3. "BP Statistical Review of World Energy June 2012" British Petroleum, retrieved 1 June 2013.
  4. "Statistical Review of World Energy 2012", BP, 2012.
  5. "EIA Country Profile" US Energy Information Administration, retrieved 31 March 2013.
  6. "Turning to gas imports will weigh on Egypt's budget" Egypt Independent, 27 December 2012.