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Technical Announcement:
Nile Delta Natural Gas Potential is Significant

Released: 5/18/2010 11:19:11 AM

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communication
119 National Center
Reston, VA 20192
Mark Kirschbaum 1-click interview
Phone: 303-236-7792

Jessica Robertson 1-click interview
Phone: 703-648-6624



An estimated 223 trillion cubic feet (tcf) (mean estimate) of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas are in the Nile Delta Basin Province, located in the Eastern Mediterranean region.

Undiscovered, technically recoverable resources are those that have yet to be discovered, but if found, could be produced using currently available technology and industry practices.

This is the first U.S. Geological Survey assessment of this basin to identify potentially extractable resources.  The USGS also recently completed an assessment of the adjacent Levant Basin Province, with a mean estimated natural gas endowment of 122 tcf. 

“The Nile Delta Basin Province has significant natural gas potential, with estimated resources comparable to some of the other large provinces around the world and bigger than anything we have assessed in the United States,” said USGS Energy Resources Program Coordinator Brenda Pierce. “This assessment furthers our understanding of the world’s energy potential, helping inform policy and decision makers about potential future energy supplies.” 

“This study is particularly germane in light of recent attention given to natural gas resources as a potential bridging fuel in a transition to a carbon-constrained global economy,” said Pierce.  “Taken together, the Nile Basin and Levant Basin assessments establish the Eastern Mediterranean region as having world-class potential for undiscovered natural gas resources.”

Natural gas is used for a variety of purposes, primarily for electricity generation, industrial, residential, and commercial sectors.

Worldwide consumption and production of natural gas was 110 tcf in 2008, according to the Energy Information Administration. The three largest consuming countries were the United States with 23 tcf, Russia with 17 tcf, and Iran with 4 tcf of natural gas per year in 2008.

Russia’s West Siberian Basin is another large natural gas province with an estimated 643 tcf. The Middle East and North Africa region also has several large provinces, which include the Rub Al Khali Basin with 426 tcf, the Greater Ghawar Uplift with 227 tcf, and the Zagros Fold Belt with 212 tcf.  

Some natural gas accumulations in the United States include the Southwestern Wyoming Province with an estimated 85 tcf, the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska Province with 73 tcf, and the Appalachian Basin Province of the eastern United States and the Western Gulf Basin Province of Texas and Louisiana, each with 70 tcf.

All of these estimates are mean estimates of undiscovered, technically recoverable gas resources.

The Nile Delta Basin Province also holds an estimated 1.7 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and 5.9 billion barrels of natural gas liquids (mean estimates). Worldwide consumption of petroleum was about 31 billion barrels in 2008.

The USGS conducted this assessment as part of a program to estimate the undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources of priority petroleum basins around the world. To learn more about this assessment, please see Fact Sheet 2010-3027: Assessment of Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources of the Nile Delta Basin Province, Eastern Mediterranean and visit the Energy Resources Program website.


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