Total, Exxon Leading Contenders For Zohr Stake

“Of course we’re interested in Zohr,” a Total source tells MEES, confirming what was already apparent from the circumstantial evidence.

Total has Cyprus Block 11 immediately to the north of Zohr and is planning to drill to test the same play in the coming months. And clear evidence that the companies are already working together comes from the fact that they have submitted joint bids for two neighboring Cyprus blocks, 6 and 10. Offshore Egypt, Total was awarded its initial block, North El Hammad, in October 2015 (MEES, 9 October 2015). Here Total (25%) also partners Eni (37.5% op) and BP (37.5%).

BP is Eni’s habitual partner in the Egyptian Mediterranean. The firms have a 50:50 split of the three key offshore Mediterranean blocks – El Temsah, Ras El Bar and Baltim – that together produce over 1.1bn cfd, 25% of Egypt’s gas output (MEES, 3 June). This output is tied back to the same location as Zohr with which they will share some facilities. As such BP is the ‘obvious’ candidate. Except that the firm, five years on from the ‘Deepwater Horizon’ spill, remains more focused on sales and cost cutting than on investing for the future (MEES, 4 November). Added to that one of its key project sanctions since is offshore Egypt: the $12bn West Nile Delta project (MEES, 26 August). So BP is already seen as ‘long’ Egypt and the payments risk that that entails. (CONTINUED - 404 WORDS)