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MOSCOW, February 9. /TASS/. All grounds exist to believe that Russia and Egypt will sign main contracts for construction of Dabaa Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in 2017, Russian Ambassador to Cairo Sergey Kirpichenko told TASS in an interview on Thursday.
Negotiations on construction of the nuclear power plant have not been completed yet, the ambassador said. "However, a major step forward was taken in this area in 2016. All grounds exist to expect that main contracts for NPP construction will be indeed signed this year," the diplomat said.
On November 19, 2015 Russia and Egypt signed an inter-governmental agreement on constructing the first nuclear power plant in El Dabaa, consisting of four power units with 1,200 MW capacity each. Under the agreement Cairo is granted a $25 bln loan to build the plant.
The nuclear power plant is expected to be built near the city of El Alamein on Egypt’s northern coast, 3.5 kilometers away from the Mediterranean Sea. The project is planned to be implemented in 12 years.
Russian companies have an opportunity to take part in development of the Zohr natural gas field through a system of tenders, according to Kirpichenko.
"Zohr is one of the largest natural gas fields in the Mediterranean offshore area of Egypt. Rosneft’s participation in the consortium dealing with its development definitely serves as an evidence to the strategic nature of our economic partnership with Egypt," the diplomat said. "Furthermore, Lukoil group is working in the country," he said.
"Other Russian companies have an opportunity to take part in development of other oil and gas fields, with tenders on them regularly staged in Egypt," the ambassador added.
The board of directors of Rosneft approved the acquisition of a stake in the Shorouk block of the Zohr gas field in the Egyptian offshore area from Italy’s Eni for $2.8 bln, the Russian company said in a statement last December. The Zohr field was discovered by Eni in August 2015 and is the largest natural gas field ever found in the Mediterranean, with a total potential of 850 billion cubic meters of gas in place. On February 2015, the authorization process for the development of field was completed, while the first gas is expected by the end of 2017.