Shell last week set out the details of its upcoming Mediterranean exploration drilling plans in a meeting with officials from Egypt’s state firm Egas. Drilling on the three-well campaign is set to begin in August after the Stena Forth drillship finishes the Aphrodite-3 appraisal well on Cyprus Block 12 (MEES, 5 May).

Shell’s first well, MEES learns, will be Mina West-1 targeting the “relatively shallow” Messinian formation on the North East El Amriya block which Shell acquired from US major ExxonMobil last year (MEES, 27 May 2022). Egypt’s key Messinian discoveries include the Eni-operated Baltim and Nooros fields, located directly to the south of the eastern portion of the North East El Amriya block. Nooros, discovered in the Messinian in 2015, produced 1.2bn cfd in 2018 but output has been on the slide since, more than halving to 495mn cfd for 2021, further evidence of the high decline rates at Egypt’s Nile Delta gas fields. More recently, Eni’s nearby Bashrush and Nidoco, discovered in 2020 in Messinian formations, have done little to boost the country’s waning gas output. (CONTINUED - 1237 WORDS)