Italy’s Eni has invested $3.5-4bn in implementing the Zohr natural gas processing plant project, which will have a capacity of 2.7 billion cubic feet of gas per day (cf/d) when completed.

The total investment in the offshore Zohr gas field development is estimated to reach $12bn by the time it starts production. Total investments will then increase to $16bn over the life of the field, local news services Amwal al-Ghad cited the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El-Molla as saying.

The Italian oil company aims to connect about 900 million cf/d of gas with the national grid by the first quarter of 2018. The project’s production rate should reach 2.7 billion cf/d by 2020. 

Eni discovered the supergiant offshore gas field in August 2015, and recently ran its first successful production test at the asset, which is the largest gas discovery ever made in the Mediterranean.

The first phase of the field’s development includes drilling six developmental wells. The estimated cost of drilling one well in Zohr concession is roughly $100m.

The minister said that work on the project is underway, which includes both the drilling of the developmental wells and the construction work on land to receive and process the gases from field.

Eni is currently engaged on work to facilitate production processes related to receiving and processing of the gas at Port Said, he said, adding that the technical committee has already received the land to start the construction Shorouk gas processing plant and link it to the gas reception plant in the same area.

Egypt-based Belayim Petroleum Company (Petrobel), a joint venture of state-owned Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) and Eni, which is developing the field, in June awarded Norway’s Aker Solutions a NKr1bn ($123m) contract to supply an umbilicals system for the Zohr field.

Aker will deliver 180 kilometres of steel tube umbilicals that will connect the Zohr subsea development to an offshore contract platform. The work will be led by Aker Solutions’ subsea division in Oslo and manufacturing will take place at the umbilicals plant in Moss, Norway. The system will be delivered by mid-April 2017, MEED reported on 8 June.

Eni also plans to sell a 20 per cent stake in the project Zohr gas field to Russian oil and gas producer Lukoil, Italian press reported in April.