• BP and Cairo sign $12bn deal to restart North Alexandria gas field development
  • North Alexandrai is Egypt’s biggest ever oil and gas project
  • Field will produce up to 1 billion cubic feet a day of gas, 25 per cent of the country’s current consumption
  • BP says the project will create 5,000 jobs for Egyptians in the construction phase

Bob Dudley, the CEO of UK-based oil company BP, and Egypt’s Minister of Petroleum Sherif Ismail have signed a deal to restart the North Alexandria gas project, Egypt’s biggest ever oil and gas development.

Speaking at a ceremony at the Egypt Economic Development Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh Dudley said that the contract was worth $12bn and would create 5,000 jobs for Egyptian nationals in its construction phase.

BP says first gas from the project is expected in 2017.

“This is investment isn’t just about today, it’s also about the future,” he said, adding that progress on negotiations wouldn’t have been possible without breakthroughs by the government to create an attractive business environment.

Energy crisis

The North Alexandria development is expected to produce up to 1 billion cubic feet a day of gas when fully operational, or 25 per cent of the country’s current consumption.

This additional production could be transformative for Egypt’s industrial sector, which has suffered over recent years due to an acute natural gas shortage.

Plans to develop the concession were put on hold in the wake of the country’s 2011 uprising and the government has struggled to make a deal to restart the project due to its large debts to foreign oil companies and the low price paid for domestically produced gas.

A provisional agreement to restart the development received approval from the country’s State Council in late January, paving the way for the official signing that took place at the Egypt Economic Development Conference.

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