• Eni is planning to fast-track development of Zohr discovery
  • Zohr is now scheduled to see first gas two years before Israel’s biggest gas field, Leviathan
  • Shares in Leviathan stakeholder Delek Group sink to their lowest level in more than two years, after Descalzi announces 2017 target

Italian oil and gas company Eni is targeting gas production from its giant Zohr discovery in Egypt in 2017, according to statements made on 9 September by the company’s CEO, Claudio Descalzi.

The firm is planning to fast-track the development using existing infrastructure near the gas field, which will allow it to complete the project in less than half the time similar field developments take when they are started from scratch.

“Zohr is not very far away from existing fields, so you’ve got a lot of offshore processing facilities and pipelines already in place,” says Trevor Sikorski, an analyst at UK research company Energy Aspects.

“You don’t have to start from scratch, and drilling the production wells shouldn’t be that difficult for a company as experienced as Eni.”

The time frame outlined by Descalzi has sparked more doubts about projects to exploit nearby gas fields in Israeli waters.

Zohr is now scheduled to see first gas two years before Leviathan, Israel’s biggest field.

Shares in Israeli company Delek Group, which is a partner in the Leviathan field, sunk to their lowest level in more than two years, after Descalzi announced the 2017 target.

The companies developing the Leviathan field were targeting Egypt as a potential market for the field’s gas, but it now looks like domestic demand in Egypt will be met by Eni’s new discovery.

Stay informed with the latest in the Middle East
Download the MEED app today, available on Apple and Android devices