Cover Zohr

Zohr: the giant offshore field in Egypt

The mining deposit is considered the largest gas discovery ever to be made in the heart of the Mediterranean.

A Mediterranean treasure trove

The Zohr field is believed to be the largest-ever gas discovery in Egypt and the Mediterranean. The integrated approach we’ve taken with this project has enabled us to bring the gas on stream just over two years from initial discovery; a record for this type of deposit. 

Zohr is located within the Shorouk concession, approximately 190 km north of the city of Port Said. Eni has a 50 per cent stake in the block and is responsible for operations there. The other stakeholders are Rosneft (30 per cent), BP (10 per cent) and Mubadala Petroleum (10 per cent). 

In August 2019, production from the field reached more than 2.7 billion cubic feet of gas per day (bcf/d), roughly five months ahead of the development plan. This result was achieved thanks to the completion of all eight land-based treatment units and all the systems for treating and removing sulphur – proceeds from the sale of which, as fertiliser, are used to funding initiatives related to our local development strategy. The rapid success can also be attributed to the commissioning of a further three wells and a second 30-inch gas pipeline, which extends 216 km and connects the underwater production installations to the land-based treatment plant. 

In 2020 development activities progressed at the Zohr project, targeting to ramp-up the field production capacity and concerned:

  • the drilling of two additional productive wells and linked to onshore production facility, reaching a gross production capacity of 3,200 mmscf/d
  • optimization and upgrading activities of the subsea facilities and of the onshore treatment plant. 

The technologies making Egypt independent: gallery

Thanks to gas it has discovered using cutting-edge technology, Egypt has become energy-independent once more. Thanks to a 3D analysis of the deposits, engineering research and the skills of the entire team involved in the project, Egypt will meet its own demand for natural gas for years to come.

Technologies

We have been able to integrate the exploration and development phases by combining advanced technologies – such as 3D models to study the field – with careful engineering and logistics planning. By performing pre-development analyses during the exploration phase, we can gather information that enables us to improve the project engineering and reduce the time taken to arrive at the final investment decision (FID). Our design-to-cost model involves subdividing projects into phases that reduce risk where the subsurface is concerned. Following this approach with Zohr, we reached the FID in February 2016 and the first gas came on stream at the end of 2017, just over two years from the initial discovery. 

The desalination plant in the gas field, operational from the beginning of 2021, aims to ensure the independence of the water supply and minimise the withdrawal of fresh water for necessary uses. Designed and installed in 2020 for a maximum production capacity of 1,200m³ a day of desalinated water, the plant treats seawater taken from coastal supply wells through a unit consisting of three filtration and reverse osmosis trains, meeting the camp water needs previously guaranteed by tankers and the local aqueduct. In addition, the plant minimises the impact of natural waste management by injecting the saline concentrate resulting from the osmosis process into coastal wells. Finally, with the aim of reducing the waste produced, the new plant will be able to receive, treat and recirculate for internal use on the site the effluent from the demineralisation units (up to 200 m³ a day), currently transported by truck to external sites for disposal.

 

The key ingredient in the discovery of Zohr was probably the creation of a first-class team. This comprised expert Egyptian geologists and juniors and highly technically skilled expatriates. These are people who have no fear of thinking outside the box.

Andrea Cozzi, Vice presidente Studi Geologici e Geofisici SGEO

Environment and community

The project makes a fundamental contribution towards Egypt maintaining independence regarding imports of natural gas. Thanks to Zohr, the country has recovered the self-sufficiency in the gas sector that was lost after 2011. The field will satisfy all of Egypt’s demand for natural gas for decades to come, meeting 65 per cent of the energy needs of a nation that is set to become a regional hub for the re-export of liquefied natural gas.

Eni has never prospected for, or developed, hydrocarbons within the boundaries of natural sites included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. In May 2019, we formally pledged our commitment to this by officially recognising the biodiversity and ecosystem services (BES) policy that we were already following in our operations as part of our transformation process. We are committed to long-term investment, looking beyond short-term profit, both operationally and socially, as recognised in our new corporate mission statement inspired by the UN Sustainable Development Goals.