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Wed 3 Dec 2008 11:08 PM

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Egypt claims significant oil find in Western Desert

US-registered firm with Egyptian-born owner strikes oil for second time this year.

A US-based oil exploration company has found up to 7,000 barrels of oil a day in a deep well in Egypt's Western Desert, Egyptian state news agency MENA reported on Wednesday.

MENA said the find included 5,300 barrels of high quality crude and 14 million cubic feet of natural gas daily, and described the it as "one of the best discoveries achieved in the Western Desert."

It said that Oil Minister Sameh Fahmy had received word of the find in a meeting with Mahmoud Dabbous, head of US-based oil firm IPR, but gave few details.

MENA said that the well, named Zain 1, had a depth of 17,000 feet in a layer of earth dating to the Jurassic era in IPR's concession area, 130km southwest of the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria.

MENA added that IPR had also recently made an oil find in its Ramadan 1 well in the Gulf of Suez of roughly 3,000 barrels of crude and 1.5 million cubic feet of natural gas daily. It found a smaller amount of oil in its nearby Ramadan 2 well.

Officials at both IPR and Egypt's oil ministry could not be immediately reached for comment.

IPR's website describes itself as a group of oil and gas operating companies with extensive experience in exploration and production.

It says it has operations in Egypt, Syria and Pakistan with headquarters in the United States.

Egypt has proven crude oil and condensate reserves of around 4.189 billion barrels, and natural gas reserves of around 76 trillion cubic feet. It is a major natural gas exporter, both by pipeline through Jordan and in liquefied form by ship. (Reuters)

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