Production from Egypt's huge Zohr offshore gas field in the Mediterranean will reach 2.9 billion cubic feet per day by mid-2019, Italy's Eni said on Monday, moving towards plans to end imports in the next 18 months.
Speaking at an industry event in Cairo, CEO Claudio Descalzi said the goal was to reach output of 1.8 bcf to 2 bcf per day by the end of 2018 and then ramp up to 2.9 bcf per day by mid-2019.
Discovered in 2015 by Eni, the field contains an estimated 30 trillion cubic feet of gas.
Descalzi confirmed that by mid-2019, seven trains would be operating.
Egypt has been seeking to speed up production from recently discovered fields, with an eye to halting imports by 2019 and achieving self-sufficiency.
The country's petroleum minister said on Monday Egypt's current gas production stood at 5.5 billion cubic feet per day.
Asked how many cargoes Egypt needed to fill the supply gap after a current tender for liquefied natural gas (LNG) is held, Tarek El Molla said, "very few."
On the recent discovery of a natural gas field off Cyprus, Calypso 1, Descalzi said an appraisal well would have to be drilled to understand the real volumes there and that Eni would decide alongside France's Total when to drill that well.
Asked whether it is believed to hold around 6 to 8 trillion cubic feet, Descalzi said: "It could be more or in that range... for sure it cannot be less but we have to understand it ... It's a good find that has merit to go ahead with additional investment."
Perched on the maritime edge of two massive gas finds in the Levant Basin - Leviathan off Israel and Zohr off Egypt, Cyprus, which still relies on heavy and expensive fuel oil for its power stations, has been keen to emulate its neighbours' success.
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.