US oil services firm Baker Hughes has won a major subsea contract from Egyptian gas company Petrobel to develop phase two of the massive Zohr gas field in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Egypt.

While details of the financial transaction were not made public, the American firm said it would be contracted to provide the following services:

  • project management
  • engineering procurement
  • fabrication
  • construction
  • testing
  • transportation of a subsea production system

Zohr, discovered in 2015 by Italian energy giant Eni is the largest gas field in the Mediterranean. It is estimated the field holds around 30 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves. Production is expected to commence in 2017.

Developing Zohr has been a priority for Egypt’s Petroleum Ministry, which wants to reduce imports of gas and transform Egypt into a gas export hub.

“Maximising domestic energy resources and optimising reliability of their supplies are core elements of Egypt’s vision… The Zohr gas field is playing a major role in the development of Egypt’s domestic energy resources, revenue generation and economic growth,” said Egyptian petroleum and mineral resources minister Tarek el-Molla at the signing ceremony.

“This project has the potential to meet Egypt’s growing gas demand and save the country billions of dollars that would otherwise be spent on importing gas,” said Baker Hughes president and chief executive Lorenzo Simonelli.

Petrobel is a joint venture of Eni’s Egyptian subsidiary and Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation, which is responsible for the development of the Zohr field.