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Pyramids in the haze
Egypt (the Arab Republic of Egypt) is a contiguous Eurafrasian country bordered by the Mediterranean Sea, Palestine and Israel to the north, the Gulf of Aqaba and Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south, and Libya to the west.
Egypt emerged in 10,000 BC along the Nile and a kingdom was founded around 3150 BC. This became an empire from 1550 BC until 525 BC when the Persians arrived. These, in turn, were replaced by Greeks, Romans and Byzantines.
In 639 AD Egypt was invaded by Arabs who controlled the area until 1250 when Turkic people known as Mamluks took over. Conquered by the Ottomans in 1517, the region remained semi-autonomous until invaded by France in 1798. In 1805 a powerful military dynasty was then established by the Albanian Ottoman, Muhammad Ali Pasha.
The Suez Canal was completed in 1869 after which France and the UK took control. Quelling nationalist unrest, the British went on to establish a de facto protectorate in 1914, allowing independence in 1922 but retaining control. Continued unrest culminated in the 1952 Revolution in which rule passed to the military.
Egypt and Syria formed the United Arab Republic until Syria seceded in 1961. Political and economic unrest, including war with Israel, subsequently led to many violent changes of government which continue to this day.
Egypt’s population is concentrated along the narrow Nile Valley and Delta. Apart from the Nile Valley, the majority of Egypt is desert with a few oases and large sand dunes. It includes parts of both the Sahara desert and the Libyan Desert.
The first exploration well, Gemsa, was drilled in 1886 near the Gulf of Suez. In 1911 oil production began in the region, which became an important oil province when the Belayim field was discovered in 1955. Over 130 fields have been productive in the Gulf.
The commencement of oil production from fields discovered in the Western Desert region in 1966 ensured that oil production would remain near plateau for many years.
Some gas is produced in both regions as well as onshore the Nile Delta but real growth in gas output has been from the offshore Delta where a series of deep water fields, first onstream in 2003, deliver gas to the local market and to an LNG plant for export.
By 2014 Egypt was struggling to meet its own growing gas needs and the country needed to import LNG gas but the discovery of more deep water gas in the Levant basin in 2015, near the border with Cyprus, is allowing the country to export again.
Map and National Flag
North and Northwest Africa
Land area (sq kms)
Oil prod (000s b/d)
Gas prod (bcm/yr)
Oil cons (000s b/d)
Gas cons (bcm/yr)
Egypt has a semi-presidential government. Elections in 2014 returned the country to a democracy but Parliament lacks powers to balance those of the President.
The 567-member People’s Assembly is the legislative body which sits for a 5-year term. The Shura Council was the 264-member upper house of Parliament but this was abolished in 2014.
The oil and gas industry is overseen by the Ministry of Petroleum through the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC), established in 1956. It majority owns the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS), established in 2001, which manages stakes in gas projects and issues exploration licenses.
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