Egypt’s gas output fell to a nine-year low of 4.73bn cfd for 2014, and even lower in January. Oil output is stalled at 670,000 b/d (see graph, above). Cairo is hopeful that an exploration boost will reverse this trend: that LNG imports, set to start next month, will be only a temporary phenomenon (see p18). This may well come to pass. But things are set to get worse before they get better.

The number of active drilling rigs in Egypt – a leading indicator of falling production – is at its lowest level in 4 ½ years (see p8). Earnings call remarks last week by one of the country’s largest independent producers give a clear flavor why. (CONTINUED - 406 WORDS)