Egypt’s Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources has given the Italian energy company Eni the green light to develop the giant Zohr gas field, setting the scene for first gas to be produced in 2017.

On 21 February, Eni released a statement saying that the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (Egas) had been given approval to grant the Italian oil company the necessary development lease.

Eni’s development plan envisages production starting by the end of 2017, just two years after the discovery, with a progressive ramp up until reaching a volume of about 75 million standard cubic meters of gas a day (equivalent to approximately 500,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day) by 2019.

In its statement Eni said, “The quick realisation of such a large project will be possible through cooperation with Petroject, Enppi and Saipem contractors, who have always contributed to the success of Eni’s development activities in Egypt.”

The discovery of Zohr was announced on 30 August 2015 following the drilling of the Zohr-1 well.

Eni says the Zohr field could hold 30 trillion cubic feet (cf) of gas, making it Egypt’s largest-ever gas discovery as well as the largest in the Mediterranean and one the world’s largest natural gas finds.