Russian state oil firm Zarubezhneft has entered Egypt’s upstream, on 24 December taking two small Gulf of Suez blocks: South East Ras El Ush and East Gebel El Zeit. The firm estimates 200mn barrels of oil in place on the two blocks. The former was offered without success in 2015 bidding (MEES, 9 January 2015). At East Gebel El Zeit, Egyptian state firm Ganope reported a late-2016 well testing at 3,000 b/d and “prospective reserves” of 250mn barrels. Zarubezhneft plans to drill two exploration wells at the blocks.

The state firm has been used as a vehicle for Russian oil investment overseas, often in ‘political’ locations. Its key production is in Vietnam via the Vietsovpetro JV which dates back to Soviet times. It is also present in Cuba, whilst in early 2018 it signed up to develop Iranian heavy oil fields before pulling out the following year (MEES, 16 March 2018). (CONTINUED - 219 WORDS)