Apache Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc plan to start producing unconventional gas from their joint venture in Egypt’s Western Desert by the end of June 2016, even as Apache is cutting investment in the nation because of falling oil prices, Bloomberg reported.
Apache and Shell will start drilling the North African country’s first unconventional gas well in a pilot project by the end of March, Apache Egypt Region Vice President and General Manager, Thomas Maher, said.
Apache and Shell will drill two additional wells before talking with the government about full development of the field by horizontal drilling and fracking.
Shell is the operator in the unconventional gas pilot project with a 52% interest, while APA owns the other 48%; the operation lies within Egypt’s Northeast Abu Gharadig licensing area, in which the two companies together own a 50% stake and state-run Egyptian General Petroleum holds the rest, Seeking Alpha wrote.
Apache is targeting for production to remain unchanged despite reduced investments. In 2013, Apache sold 33% percent of its Egyptian business to China Petroleum and Chemical Corp., known as Sinopec, with their production in the country now at 353,000boe/d, mainly in the Western Desert. They plan to invest about $1b, down 35% in the next two years.