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To jubilation among President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s supporters, the Petroleum Ministry announced on 16 December that the giant offshore Zohr natural gas field had started production. Such is the Mediterranean deep water resource’s scale and strategic importance that Italian operator Eni fast-tracked its investment decision and development work during a period when many other offshore upstream projects were put on hold. Discovered only in August 2015, Zohr’s development will relieve pressure on the domestic market – a good reason for Sisi’s administration to agree attractive terms.