If Egypt is to boost gas output back to last September’s record 7.2bn cfd from Q3’s waning 6.5bn cfd, and then keep it there, it needs to bolster its development pipeline. Though geology will have a lot to say about ultimate success, a recent string of major block awards and exploration commitments boosts Cairo’s chances.

Hot on the heels of Italian firm Eni’s decision to not only take several deepwater exploration blocks (MEES, 4 November) but to expedite drilling, BP has signed up for key acreage adjoining the producing fields of its West Nile Delta project. The freshly-awarded Northwest Abu Qir block (BP 82.75%op, Germany’s WintershallDea 17.25% – in line with their respective WND stakes) as well as the North King Mariut block immediately to the west which BP (100%) snagged earlier this year (MEES, 1 July) both contain several fields discovered in the early 2000s which were subsequently considered uneconomic to develop. (CONTINUED - 1132 WORDS)