BP said May 10 it has started gas production from the first two fields, Taurus and Libra, of the West Nile Delta development in Egypt.

The project was delivered eight months ahead of start-up schedule and under budget. First gas was exported to Egypt?s national gas grid on 24 March 2017 and the commissioning of all nine wells of the development?s first two fields and ramp up to stable operations has now been completed.

The West Nile Delta development, which includes five gas fields across the North Alexandria and West Mediterranean Deepwater offshore concession blocks, is being developed as two separate projects to enable BP and its partners to accelerate gas production commitments to Egypt, said BP. When fully onstream in 2019, combined production from both is expected to reach almost 1.5bn ft3/d, equivalent to some 30% of Egypt?s current gas production. All the gas produced will be fed into the national gas grid.

Following final approval in 2015, development of the first project involving Taurus and Libra was fast-tracked to enable delivery of an annual average of more than 600mn ft3/d to Egypt’s gas grid, and the two fields are currently producing more than 700mn ft3/d sales gas and 1000 barrels per day (bbls/d) condensate — 20% higher than the planned sales gas plateau.

The Taurus and Libra project is a subsea greenfield development including nine wells (6 in Taurus and 3 in Libra) and a 42km tie-back to the existing onshore processing facility where gas enters the Egyptian gas grid via a nearby export pipeline.

This is the second of seven major upstream projects that BP expects to come into production worldwide in 2017. Together with projects that began producing in 2016, these new start-ups are expected to provide BP with 500,000 boe/d of new production capacity globally by end-2017.

BP CEO Bob Dudley said: ?West Nile Delta is a strategic national project that will add significant gas production to the Egyptian market and is another example of BP?s commitment to Egypt. Our continuing investments in the country, including West Nile Delta, Atoll and our recent investment in Zohr, are laying the foundations for growth for BP in Egypt well into the future.

The West Nile Delta is operated by BP with an 82.75% stake, while Russia-controlled independent DEA holds the other 17.25%.

Update later on May 10:

?West Nile Delta is the largest new gas project that has been brought into production in Egypt in the last years. Its gas will contribute materially to the energy balance in the country. It is also one of the largest investment projects within DEA?s portfolio and we are pleased that the first gas milestone has been reached,? said DEA CEO Thomas Rappuhn.

Mark Smedley

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