Italian supermajor Eni SpA has struck natural gas in its first exploration well in the North El Hammad offshore Egypt in the Nile Delta, adding to a gusher of opportunities in the region. 

Eni, which operates the block in the Eastern Mediterranean (Med) with partners BP plc and Total SA, said the discovery at Bashrush further extends to the west the gas potential of the Abu Madi formation reservoirs from the Great Nooros Area.

Bashrush, seven miles from the coast, is around 7.5 miles northwest of the Nooros field and about half a mile west of the Baltim South West field, both already in production, Eni noted.

The well, discovered in a single gas column about 500 feet thick, was “within the Messinian age sandstones of the Abu Madi formation with excellent petrophysical properties,” it said.

Eni and its partners, in coordination with the Egyptian Petroleum Sector, plan to begin screening development options, with an aim to fast track production and use existing infrastructure. In parallel with the development, Eni plans to drill another Great Nooros prospect this year in the Abu Madi West concession.

LNG Possibilities

Discoveries within the gassy Eastern Med have been coming fast and heavy in the last few years, enough to offer the potential for liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports.

Houston super independent Noble Energy Inc. already has two mega gas projects offshore Israel underway, with the Tamar field reaching a milestone of 2 Tcf last year and first volumes from the Leviathan field ramping up. Leviathan, southeast of Cyprus off the Israeli coast, is to include four subsea wells, each capable of flowing more than 300 MMcf/d.

Also last year ExxonMobil secured more than 1.7 million acres offshore Egypt to build its portfolio, including acreage in the North Marakia Offshore block, five miles offshore Egypt’s northern coast in the Herodotus Basin, and in the North East El Amriya Offshore Block in the Nile Delta.

Early last year ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum also reported a huge gas discovery offshore Cyprus that could hold 5-7 Tcf. The gas-bearing reservoir of 436 feet was discovered at the Glaucus-1 well in Block 10. ExxonMobil and Qatar were said to be pondering ways to use the reserves to feed a two-train LNG plant.

Eni and Total made a similar giant gas discovery in the neighboring block in 2018. A partnership also would echo collaboration at ExxonMobil and Eni’s LNG developments in Mozambique; the partners sanctioned Coral South LNG in 2018.