LNG FOR EGYPT
ENERDATA - 3 Dec 2020 - The government of Egypt, the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC), and the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) have reached an agreement with the Italian and Spanish gas groups Eni and Naturgy to restart the 7.56 bcm/year (5.6 Mt/year) Damietta gas liquefaction plant in northern Egypt, which has been idle since November 2012. The LNG plant is due to restart operations in the first quarter of 2021.
As part the of the agreement, which is similar to a previous deal signed in February 2020, Union Fenosa Gas (UFG, a 50:50 joint venture between Eni and Naturgy) will be dissolved and its 80% stake in Damietta LNG will be split between Eni (50%) and EGAS (30%). Consequently, the share of Eni in Damietta LNG will rise from 40% to 50%, that of EGAS from 10% to 40% and that of EGPC will remain stable at 10%. Naturgy will thus exit assets in Egypt and will receive US$600m (against US$300m under the precedent agreement) in cash, and UFG’s assets outside Egypt (except in Spain). Eni will ensure the supply in natural gas to the plant, having obtained liquefaction rights of 3.78 bcm/year (2.8 Mt/year).
Egypt is seeking to become an energy hub in the eastern Mediterranean. The discovery of the giant Zohr gas field by Eni in August 2015 (estimated gas reserves of 850 bcm) and its start in December 2017 contributed to relaunch domestic gas production that had been declining since 2009 and revived the interest in Egypt's energy resources. In January 2020, ExxonMobil signed two agreements to launch oil and gas exploration in the Egyptian part of the Mediterranean Sea.