Exploration and development in Egypt is regulated by a Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) contract. The main production activities are carried out in the Shorouk block (Eni 50%), in the Mediterranean offshore with the giant Zohr gas field, the Sinai concession, mainly in the Belayim Marine-Land and Abu Rudeis fields (Eni 100%), the Western Desert in the Meleiha (Eni 76%) and South West Meleiha (Eni 100%) concessions, where production began in 2019, and the Ras Qattara (Eni 75%) and West Abu Gharadig (Eni 45%) concessions and the Ashrafi (Eni 50%), Baltim (Eni 50%), Nile Delta (Eni 75%), North Port Said (Eni 100%), North Razzak (Eni 100%) and Temsah (Eni 50%) concessions. Furthermore, we participate in the Ras el Barr (Eni 50%) and South Ghara (Eni 25%) concessions.
In August 2018, the Egyptian authorities approved the extension of the Nile Delta concession containing the Abu Madi West concession with the Nooros field, for exploration activity with the El Qar'a permit (Eni 75%) for a further ten years starting from 2021, within the prolific Grand Nooros production area, for the Ras Qattara concession in the Western Desert and the Faramid development concession (Eni 100%) for a further five-year period. In February 2019, two new exploration blocks were assigned in the inland area of the country. The South East Siwa (Eni 100%), in the western desert, and West Sherbean (Eni 50%, operator), in the onshore of the Nile Delta, near the Nooros producing fields (Eni 75%). In 2019, we made a gas discovery in the Nour exploration prospectus (operated by us with 40%) in addition to other near field discoveries in the western desert in the elevations of Basma and Shemy, in the Nile Delta in the onshore prospect of El Qara North East 1 and in the Gulf of Suez in the Sidri South prospect. We have already connected some discovery wells to the production facilities in the area. In addition, exploration activities yielded positive results also thanks to the Faramid-S1X well in the East Obayed concession (Eni 100%), the A-2X and B1-X oil discoveries and the recent discovery of A-1X gas and condensates in the South West Meleiha permit.
Again in the same year, exploration activity proved successful with a gas discovery under the exploration license of El Qar'a in the Nile Delta. In addition, we completed the SWM-A-3X gas and condensate discovery under the South West Meleiha permit and the Nour-1 well, gas mineralised, under the Nour exploration license (Eni's interest 40%). The new discoveries confirm Eni's positive exploration track-record in the country, with continuous technological progress in exploration activities, which has also allowed the exploitation of residual mineral potential even in mature production areas.
Development activities focussed on increasing the potential capacity of processing facilities relating to the Zohr field, which saw the completion and start-up of three other onshore gas processing units and three further production wells in 2019, for a total of 13. In addition, we began the Baltim South West project (Eni 50%, operator) in the offshore of the country with the installation of a new platform and a 44 km pipeline. In the Nooros field (Eni 75%, operator) we completed a new pipeline of 128 km to transport gas four months ahead of schedule and we continued with infilling and production optimising activities in the Sinai (Eni 100%, operator), Meleiha (Eni's interest 76%) and Ras Qattara (Eni's interest 75%) concessions. Remaining in the western desert, in 2019, we completed the installation of a pipeline in the South West Meleiha production area connecting the operated Meleiha treater. Finally, in the Sinai area we optimised the water reinjection project which has made it possible to achieve zero water discharge.
In July 2020 we have drilled the first exploration well in the conventional Egyptian waters of the Nile Delta, on the prospect called Bashrush. The discovery, which further extends to the west the gas potential from the Great Nooros Area, is located 12 km North-West from the Nooros field and about 1 km west of the Baltim South West field, both already in production. The well has been opened to test potentiality of production, and it delivered up to 32 MMscfd of gas. The test rate was limited by surface testing facilities. The well deliverability in production configuration is estimated at up to 100 MMscf of gas and 800 barrels of condensate per day. Together with our partners BP and Total, in coordination with the Egyptian Petroleum Sector, we will begin screening the development options of this new discovery, with the aim of fast tracking production through synergies with the area's existing infrastructures. In parallel, we will continue to explore the Great Nooros Area with the drilling of another exploration well called Nidoco NW-1 DIR, located in the Abu Madi West concession.
In the same month we announced the successful drilling of the SWM-A-6X well, in the South West Meleiha development and exploration concession located in the Egyptian Western Desert. The new well has been drilled close to existing production facilities and is already connected to the production network. The production from South West Meleiha Concession began in July 2019 and in just one year ramped up to 12,000 bopd thanks to the contribution of new discoveries. The SWM-A-6X well is already on stream with a daily production of 5,000 bopd. We are successfully implementing its near-field exploration strategy in the Egyptian Western Desert through AGIBA, a Joint Venture with the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC).
In September 2020 we announced a new gas discovery in the so-called Great Nooros Area. The exploratory well Nidoco NW-1 is located in 16 meters of water depth, 5 km from the coast and 4 km north from the Nooros field. With BP as contractor member and in coordination with the Egyptian Petroleum Sector will begin screening the development options of this new discovery benefitting of the synergies with the area's existing infrastructures.
In the 2020 the new discoveries confirm the positive track-record of Eni’s exploration in the Country leveraging on the continuous technology progress in exploration activities that allows to re-evaluate the residual mineral potential in mature production areas. The development activities related to the discoveries started up in production or whit start-up expected in 2021 will leverage on the synergies with the existing facilities confirming the effectiveness of the incremental exploration strategy focused on high-value opportunities with fast time-to-market to support production level and cash flow in the short-term. In 2020 development activities concerned:
- the drilling of infilling wells in the production fields located in the Sinai area (Eni operator with a 100% interest) and Meleiha Complex (Eni operator with a 76% interest)
- the development of near-field discoveries made in the year which were readily put into production in the Arcadia South, Meleiha, South West Meleiha and Baltim SW (Eni’s interest 50%) operated fields.
In particular, the Baltim SW project includes a full field development phase with the drilling of two additional productive wells, maintenance activities and extensive asset integrity programs at the onshore and offshore facilities of the Sinai, Western Desert and Mediterranean assets.
In June 2021 we signed an agreement with the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) and Lukoil for the merger of the concessions of Meleiha and Meleiha Deep, in Egypt's Western Desert, and their extension to 2036, with the possibility of reaching further to 2041. The agreement will unlock, through enhanced contractual terms, the area’s considerable resources, thanks to a high-resolution 3D seismic acquisition and an intensive exploration and development drilling campaign.