September 29, 2018 / 8:51 AM / 18 days ago

Egypt halts gas imports after final shipments arrived - minister

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt will stop importing natural gas after its final liquefied shipments arrived last week, Petroleum Minister Tarek El Molla said on Saturday.

Tarek El Molla, Egypt's Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, speaks on the telephone during an interview with Reuters at his office in Cairo, Egypt, October 29, 2015. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Earlier this year El Molla said Egypt would stop importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) by the end of the 2017/18 fiscal year as it speeds up production at recently discovered gas fields.

“With the last liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments to Egypt last week, we announce a halt on gas imports,” El Molla said. He did not provide details on the number of shipments Egypt had received this year.

Egypt aims to be a regional hub for the trade of liquefied natural gas (LNG) after a string of major discoveries in recent years, including the giant Zohr offshore gas field which holds an estimated 30 trillion cubic feet of gas.

The country’s production of natural gas this month reached 6.6 billion cubic feet per day, compared with 6 billion feet per day in July. Production has been growing steadily since the field began operating in December.

EL Molla said in January the country would save $250 million per month by no longer importing LNG.

Reporting by Ahmed Ismail, writing by Amina Ismail; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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