Cairo, December 2011
The other side of Nile Delta’s Gas
1 – Introduction
More than a decade ago, gas was discovered under the Nile delta by foreign oil companies, whom granted permissions through the Egyptian Petroleum Authorities. Beforehand, we have to review some general information about the Delta. It is also required to shed some light on gas and its production vs. its effect on the Delta structure.
Generally Deltas are the product of the rapid deposition of stream-borne sediments in relatively still – standing bodies of water. Their presence represents the continuing ability of a river to supply and deposit sand, silt and other detrimental materials more rapidly than they can be removed by currents.
Nearly 2500 years ago, Herodotus noted that the alluvial land enclosed between the diverging distributary branches of the Nile and the sea is deltoid in shape and used the Greek letter ( Δ ) delta to identify this land it is imperative to mention that one of the major factors influencing the character of the delta is tectonic stability of the basin.
Taking into consideration that the Nile Delta covers more than a 12.500 SQ Km area i.e. more than 3.000.000 faddans of agricultural land and not ignoring other factors that could affect the character of delta such as:
1 –Geological setting and sediment sources in the drainage basin.
2 – River gradient and regime.
3 – Depositional and erosional processes and their intensities with the delta proper.
4 – Tidal range, eustasy and off-shore hydrologic conditions.
The numerous combinations between these factors and the element of time result in a dynamically changing complex of environments within the delta region.
It was a must to mention these lengthy technical details in order to point out the effect of both High Dam and Gas production on our lonely miserable Nile Delta in the near future
Despite the fact that the old GAS TENNANTS Granted permits in Egypt (EGPC and IOEC) for Exploration / production early May, 73 in the Delta .put most of their permits (out of ABU MADDI concession) were strictly located at the offshore Mediterranean AREAS.
However the new TENNANTS concentrate their efforts to secure Exporation permits in the Agriculture fertile on-shore Nile Delta ( in order reduce their expenditures ) neglecting all together the side effect of such operations and GAS production on fertility of our Delta , and its soil , These New comers stunted med 1998 ( MELROSE, RWA , DANA and BP ) .
Frankly, I understand their reasons, but I was tempted to put down my point of view regarding this matter, not going thru the problem from the technical side as a profissinal petroleum Geologist.
Going back to the book that was written by Prince OMAR TOUSSOUN around the year 1925 about the history of the Nile, where it is mentioned that the old Delta had at least seven branches, while we have only two branches nowadays. ?? And by continuing such GAS production from the DELTA, I wonder, if such two branches will survive and for how long.
Not to forcet the side effect of the High Dam of ASWAN on the Existing DELTA.
It is worth mentioning that we recorded the invasion of sea water from the Mediterranean, During Drilling some water wells in TALLA and TANTA. Replacing the fresh water.
For these reasons we have to watch out the side effect of bath GAS production and ASWAN High Dam on the Nile Delta.
Other wise , we will end-up by Losing more than 3.000.000 Faddans of our Agricultural land , sooner than expected over sighting problem , Recently the petroleum ministry announced, an international tender for GAS Exploration and production in 13 Blocks, most of it at the relinquished Blocks of the DELTA
To me such Behavior, where the Authorities intend mainly to meet the local GAS consumption and exporting contracts needs. They are rushing to loose their DELTA for Ever.
By DR. M.EL GAZZAR