CAIRO: Egyptian mining and petroleum industry officials have criticized a project sponsored by the Ministry of Petroleum to extract crude oil from petroleum clay (tafla) citing it as too costly.
They also said Egypt’s reserves of petroleum clay are insufficient for the initiative.
Fawzy Al-Mahallawy, professor of mining at the Egyptian Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University, said that the initiative is economically unfeasible under the present circumstances.
He recommended using petroleum clay as fuel for power generation, particularly in phosphate mines.
Geologist Abul Hassan Abdul Raouf, former chairman of the Egyptian Geological Survey & Mining Authority, warned against a repetition of the phosphate Abu Tartour Project, when management insisted on extracting crude from petroleum clay. He pointed to the shortage of the clay, low return on investment and high costs.
Egypt’s reserves of petroleum clay (tafla) amount to 5.7 billion barrels throughout the country excluding Sinai. But experts estimate the required reserves for such projects at 100 billion barrels.
Earlier this month, the Egyptian Minister of Petroleum said the initiative to extract crude from tafla was aimed at diversifying the country’s sources of energy.
The Ministry of Petroleum estimates reserves of tafla in the Red Sea region at 4.5 billion barrels.