The farm-in deal with Petronas will bring Shell’s stake in Nemed down to 63 per cent. The remaining 25 per cent is held by ExxonMobil Corporationof the US.

Shell drilled its first two wells in Nemed between December 2000 and February 2001. The company has not announced any details of the results of the drilling. The only official statement has come from Petroleum Minister Sameh Fahmy, who told MEED in March that one well gave ‘a very good indication of the presence of hydrocarbon-bearing zones at different levels’. Drilling of the other well met with severe mechanical problems, which meant that the exercise was inconclusive, Fahmy said (MEED 6:4:01).

Shell says it plans to drill three more wells by the end of 2003. The concession agreement calls for the investment of a total of $230 million in drilling 10 wells over 12 years in three phases, the first of which is five years. Shell officials have expressed optimism about Nemed’s prospects, and the company has said it wants to build a gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant on Egypt’s Mediterranean coast to process gas produced from the block.