Mathios Rigas, Energean’s Chief Executive Officer, speaks to Pipeline Magazine’s Julian Walker about the company’s commitment to Egypt and the Edison E&P acquisition
How important is the Egyptian market to Energean’s growth strategy?
Energean’s vision is to become the leading independent E&P company in the Mediterranean, so Egypt has always been a key country for us. We are strongly committed to Egypt, we started operating in the country in 2010, and we have drilled exploration wells in areas such as West Kom Ombo and East Magawish. Even though this activity did not result in a discovery, it helped us understand further the geology, made us familiar with the particularities of the country, and helped as build a fruitful relationship with Egypt’s authorities.
How did buying Edison change your position in Egypt?
Assuming the completion of the acquisition of Edison E&P, Egypt’s portfolio will bring to Energean a significant amount of daily production as well as a very important commercial agreement with EGPC, which buys the gas produced from the Abu Qir field. Abu Qir is one of Egypt’s biggest producing assets and also will contribute substantially to Energean’s plans to reduce its environmental footprint and positively participate in the energy transition. Energean started as a 100 per cent oil producer and, inclusive of the acquisition of the Edison E&P assets, it has now evolved as an E&P company with 80 per cent of its reserves and production from natural gas. Indeed, our commitment to the environment was underlined by Energean being one of the first E&P companies to commit to become a net zero emitter by 2050 and to run a very ambitious but realistic plan to reduce our net CO2 emissions by more than 70 per cent in just three years from now.
What are the main opportunities (offshore or onshore) do you see in Egypt since you agreed to buy Edison?
Apart from Abu Qir, the NEA concession will be a 100 per cent owned and operated gas and condensate field located offshore of the Western Nile Delta in Egypt and next to Abu Qir. The asset’s two fields Python and Yazzi are expected to be developed across, and produced through, the existing Abu Qir gas infrastructure, generating significant synergies and cost savings versus a standalone development. Beyond these two fields, there is further upside from the North Idku development, which is located adjacent to NEA and is expected to be tied-back to NEA infrastructure. In addition, there is exploration gas potential in North Thekah via an extension of the Tamar sand play into Egypt. Energean is also evaluating any other investing opportunities the country offers, always applying the company’s core principles: ESG Stewardship – Risk Mitigation – Operational Excellence – Effective Project Execution – Disciplined Capital Allocation
How important are gas and LNG to the future of the world’s energy mix?
The transition to a renewable energy world will take some decades. The basic scenarios of all organisations regarding primary energy consumption in the next couple of decades conclude that renewable energy is the fastest growing source of energy, accounting for around half of the increase in energy and that natural gas grows much faster than either oil or coal. So, gas will be the main fossil fuel that will lead the energy transition era towards an ideal of a 100 per cent renewable consuming planet. Following Zohr and the discoveries in Israel and Cyprus, the East Mediterranean has emerged as the next big thing in gas but what I would like to emphasise here is the importance of the infrastructure needed to transport gas from the producing assets to consumers. Egypt is already playing a major role as a gas hub due to infrastructure such as the LNG terminals in the Med. Energean is building its own infrastructure, namely the ‘Energean Power’ which will be the first FPSO ever to operate in the East Mediterranean aiming at supplying the markets of the region with gas with a capacity of 8BCM per year. Energean is also active in the EastMed Pipeline Project which aims at supplying Europe from the region’s gas fields, starting from the development of the Karish field which will come on stream in 2021.
How are you supporting EGYPS this year?
We are silver sponsors and exhibitors. We consider EGYPS as a landmark event that is crucial in promoting industry cooperation and this is why, apart from myself, several of Energean’s top level officials and members of the Technical Team are participating in panel discussions. So, we are looking forward to meeting you at our booth to introduce you further to Energean’s strategy for the sustainable development of the natural resources in the Mediterranean.