Dutch company Shell and American corporation Apache will complete the initial tests for producing gas from limestone layers in the Apollonia field in the Western Desert by the end of June.
A prominent source at the Ministry of Petroleum told Daily News Egypt that the two companies have a plan to drill 30 wells in the Western Desert after the initial production tests are completed.
He added that the limestone layers in the Western Desert contain natural gas and if the results of the tests are positive, new investment opportunities for producing natural gas in unconventional ways would be available.
Shell and Apache recently agreed to price the gas at $4.6 per 1 metre thermal unit instead of $2.9, according to the source
The source explained that Apache has finished drilling two horizontal wells in the Apollonia field. The cost for drilling each well is estimated at $3m, and each require approximately 19 days of drilling in order to be functional.
Shell also drilled three vertical wells with the aim of collecting the information needed to design horizontal wells, the source said.
Shell and Apache have estimated that the gas reserves which can be extracted from the concession area in the limestone layers at the Apollonia field are approximately 700 billion cubic feet. The source added that the two companies are attempting to expand their search for gas in unconventional places, as well as in the limestone layers in the Western Desert. Further exploration will begin after studies at the Apollonia field are completed.
The approved budget for this joint project is estimated at $23m, and the operational arm is being carried out by Khalda Petroleum in cooperation with Badr El Din Petroleum Company (BAPETCO).