Dana Gas will begin drilling this year in an area it says could become Egypt's next giant Mediterranean gas field, after seismic data pointed to reserves as large as 20 trillion cubic feet.
That data will be put to the test beginning in April or May, when it expects to start drilling an area that could hold 4-6 trillion cubic feet of gas, Dana Gas CEO Patrick Allman-Ward told Reuters on the sidelines of an energy forum on Tuesday.
"If the geology works out the way that we think it will, then in the success case it could be a 4-6 trillion cubic feet gas reserve," Allman-Ward said.
"And that's just that one prospect," he said of the area of a North Arish field located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea which is one of three Dana Gas has homed in on within its Block 6 after it was licensed to explore in 2014.
"All three together could be as much as 20 trillion cubic feet," Allman-Ward said.
Such a reserve level would make it second only to Egypt's Zohr field, a 30 trillion cubic feet find made by Eni in 2015 that made Egypt a major player in Mediterranean gas and which it is now hoping will become a regional re-export hub.
Allman-Ward said Dana's investments are a modest $50-$100 million per year, but that it would invest as much as $5 billion to develop the three prospects in the best case scenario.
"The $5 billion is the high end estimate of what the total block development costs might be in the case of success in all three prospects....Development could start by 2023," he said.
Allman-Ward said the find could be key in solidifying Egypt as a gas hub for regional trade, boosting its supplies even as Zohr's reserves begin to decline and Egypt faces the prospect of being a net-importer as soon as 2023 without big new finds.
(Editing by Alexander Smith)