Egypt to develop Sinai oil fields 'over-exploited' by Israel

Egypt has announced its plans to develop the Sedr, Assal and Matarmah oilfields, which it claims was 'over-exploited' by the Israelis during their 12-year occupation of Sinai.

Egypt to develop Sinai oil fields 'over-exploited' by Israel

World Bulletin / News Desk

Egypt seeks to develop three oilfields that it says were mishandled by Israel when the latter occupied the Sinai Peninsula between 1967 and 1979, a high-ranking official from Egypt's state-run Petroleum Authority said Monday.

The Sedr, Assal and Matarmah oilfields had all been "overexploited" by Israel during the latter's 12-year-long occupation, the source told Anadolu Agency.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added that the overexploitation and mishandling of the fields in question had adversely impacted their subsequent output.

The three oilfields – now operated by Egypt's state-owned General Petroleum Company – currently produce only dozens of barrels of oil per day out of the company's total daily output of some 45,000 barrels.

Nevertheless, the Petroleum Authority official said that the low water levels in the three fields suggested that they contained large amounts of oil.

"We strongly believe that there is an oil reservoir in the area," he said.

Israel captured several of Egypt's Sinai oilfields following the 1967 Middle East War between the two countries.

Petroleum expert Essam Taha pointed out that, in 1966, the three fields had together produced some 87,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

In 1975, he added, the same fields produced some 92,000 barrels of oil per day, which had gone to covering 65 percent of Israel's total petroleum needs.

Israel, said Taha, had worked assiduously to raise total production of the three fields to 120,000 barrels a day.

According to a Petroleum Authority report, Israel managed to produce a total of 165 million barrels of crude oil and 70 billion cubic feet of natural gas – worth roughly $15 billion at 1975 values – during its occupation of the peninsula.

Taha said this figure was some 6.6 million barrels less than an earlier assessment by the UN Economic and Social Council on Israeli oil production in then-occupied Sinai.

Last Mod: 25 Kasım 2013, 17:38
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