Atoll Gas Field, North Damietta Offshore Concession, East Nile Delta, Egypt

Maersk Discoverer

The Atoll gas field is a significant discovery lying in the North Damietta Concession offshore Egypt in the East Nile Delta. The field will be developed by BP, which has a 100% equity in the discovery, and is expected to start production in 2018, just 15 months following its discovery.

The field development was approved by BP in collaboration with Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) on 20 June 2016. Atoll was decided to be developed as a fast-track project after the heads of agreement was signed in November 2015 between BP and the Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources.

"The project development has been accelerated to establish a new material hub in the offshore East Nile Delta region and help reduce the country's gas deficit."

The project development has been accelerated to establish a new material hub in the offshore East Nile Delta region and help reduce the country's gas deficit. BP expects to increase its gas production in Egypt and achieve 2.5 billion cubic feet a day (bcfd) of production by 2020, which represents approximately 50% of the country's current gas production.

BP has also signed a number of agreements for transportation and processing arrangements related to the field development. Pharaonic Petroleum Co. (PhPC), BP's joint venture with EGAS and Eni will execute and operate the project.

Discovery and reserves of Atoll gas field

The Atoll field was discovered by BP in March 2015 by drilling the Atoll-1 deepwater exploration discovery well. The well was drilled using the sixth generation semi-submersible rig Maersk Discoverer to a depth of 923m and is expected to be Egypt's deepest well ever drilled. The drilling site is located 15km north of Salamat discovery, 80km north of the city of Damietta, and 45km to the north-west of Temsah offshore facilities.

The exploration well was drilled to a depth of 6,400m and encountered approximately 50m of gas pay in high-quality sandstones. It is the operator's second most significant Oligocene discovery in the area after the Salamat discovery of 2013.

The field is estimated to contain approximately 1.5 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas and 31 million metric barrel (mmbl) of condensates. An estimated 300 million metric standard cubic feet a day (mmscfd) of gas is expected to reach the Egyptian domestic gas market once the field starts production.

Atoll gas field development details

The Atoll field will be developed in two phases with the first phase planned to start in production in 2018.

Atoll Phase One will be an early production scheme (EPS) and will comprise two development wells tied back to BP's existing Akhan-Temsah infrastructure. It will include the completion of the exploration well and a production well along with the drilling of two additional wells. Tie-ins and other infrastructure required for the production will also be installed in the first phase.

Further drilling accompanied by additional investments is expected to be performed after the successful completion of the first development phase. The DS-6 drilling ship will drill the Atoll wells from August 2016 and continue over the next two years.

The gas and the liquids produced from the field will be processed onshore at the existing West Harbour gas processing facility, which currently processes 280mmscfd from Ha'py and 265mmscfd from Taurt fields.

The full field development is estimated to cost $3bn, while the first phase is being developed with a $945m investment.

Key players involved

A three-year contract extension was awarded to Maersk Drilling for its ultra-deepwater semi-submersible drilling rig, the Maersk Discoverer.

A five-year drilling contract was signed between BP and Ensco for its ultra-deepwater drillship ENSCO DS-6 at a rate of approximately $522,000 a day.