BP has invested more money in Egypt in the last two years than anywhere else, the oil giant's Chief Executive Bob Dudley told CNBC.
"Today (the scale of our operations) is very big," Dudley told CNBC Monday. "We produce oil in the Gulf of Suez but really our focus in the last five years has been this big push for natural gas. All across from the Nile Delta, to the east, to the west of the Nile Delta, it's helping power the country and other companies are here as well."
"In the last two years we've invested more money in Egypt, in both of those years, than in any other country in the world for BP, so it's a really important place for us," he told CNBC's Dan Murphy.
Egypt might lack the oil producing clout of its OPEC neighbors to the west (Libya and Algeria) and east (Saudi Arabia) but it's pushing to become a Mediterranean energy hub, particularly in the natural gas sector. Cairo is expected to become a net gas exporter by the end of 2019 and the country has seen widespread interest in its natural gas potential — particularly after the success of Egypt's Zohr gas field, an offshore natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea operated by Italian energy firm Eni.
Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Egypt's oil and gas sector reached $10 billion in the full fiscal year of 2017/18, the country's Petroleum Minister Tarek El-Molla told an Egyptian newspaper last August, and expects at least the same in 2018/2019. In December, El Molla said Egypt had signed over 12 exploration and production agreements with international oil companies (IOCs) during 2018. The petroleum minister told CNBC in January that Egypt's gas reserves could even be a catalyst for peace in the region.