JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Italian energy group said it discovered the largest known natural gas field in the Mediterranean off the Egyptian coast.
The Zohr field could hold 30 trillion cubic feet of gas and covers an area of about 100 square kilometers, or 38.6 square miles, the Eni firm announced Sunday.
The field is significantly larger than Israel’s offshore Leviathan field, estimated to hold 16 trillion to 18 trillion cubic feet of gas, and until now considered the largest gas field in the Mediterranean. A second field, Tamar, which has at least 9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, is expected to meet Israel’s energy needs for the next 20 years.
Eni said in a statement that the discovery, after its full development, “will be able to ensure satisfying Egypt’s natural gas demand for decades.”
“Zohr is the largest gas discovery ever made in Egypt and in the Mediterranean Sea, and could become one of the world’s largest natural gas finds,” Eni said in the statement.
Following the announcement of the discovery, Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said it should spur Israel to move forward with its plans for its gas reserves.
Earlier this month, Israel announced that it had reached a deal with a consortium of companies over the development of its offshore natural gas fields, but it has not been signed.