CAIRO: Egypt has witnessed a 13 percent surge in the discovery of oil and gas reserves in 2020 compared with the previous year.
According to the country’s Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, 62 oil and gas reserves were found in 2020, a year in which the global economy struggled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 47 crude oil and 15 natural gas reserves were found in the Western Desert, the Eastern Desert, Gulf of Suez, Nile Delta and the Mediterranean Sea.
In 2019, Egypt discovered 40 crude oil and 15 natural gas reserves in the Mediterranean, the Western Desert, the Eastern Desert, Gulf of Suez, Nile Delta and Sinai.
The ministry said that these “positive results” indicate the success of research and exploration in current oil fields, and suggest the existence of further petroleum resources that are yet to be discovered.
Modern technologies and advanced geological theories have contributed to better research results, it added.
The ministry plans to increase production of crude oil and counter the phenomenon of the natural diminishment of wells and old fields by investing in programs for research, exploration, drilling and development of wells.
In 2020, Cairo signed 22 agreements with global firms such as ExxonMobil and Chevron to make investments worth $1.6 billion to develop the reserves and deals worth $139 million for oil well drilling at 74 sites.
An official at the General Authority for Petroleum said the Mediterranean Sea is one of the sites rich in crude and gas reserves.
Egypt’s largest Zohr offshore gas field in the Mediterranean Sea, which was discovered by Italy’s giant Eni in 2015, greatly contributes to the country’s natural gas production as it produces about 2.7 billion cubic feet on a daily basis.
He said that these deals will help the Egyptian government overcome economic challenges.
The official said the Petroleum Ministry is successfully embarking on its plans to repay debts to foreign oil companies, which stood at $6.3 billion in 2013.
He said that by the end of June 2020 the debts had fallen to $850 million.