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Hydraulic fracking, Egypt


News that Shell Egypt and its joint venture partner Badr Petroleum Company had performed hydraulic fracturing using foam to tap natural gas in the Apollonia Reservoirs of Egypts Western Desert led to a call for a moratorium on the practice in 2012. The Western Desert makes up about two-thirds of Egypts land area and spans from the Mediterranean Sea south to the Sudanese border and from the Nile River Valley west to the Libyan border. While the area is sparsely populated, there are concerns that fracking could pollute groundwater supplies. The moratorium call was made by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, who called for independent impact studies and the development of regulations to cover the practice. Fracking, or plans to use fracking to extract gas, have been controversial globally because chemicals are used in the process, raising fears that it will pollute groundwater supplies. This is particularly relevant for Egypt, says the EIPR, because the country is dependent on limited sources of water. Newspaper reports indicated that no EIA report had been done for the project. In addition, two other companies are apparently also also involved in fracking. Apache (USA) was involed in fracking operations in wells in the East Bahariya field in the Western Desert, which contains aquifer systems of fresh groundwater on which both tourism and all agriculture by the inhabitants of the western oases depend. Agiba Petroleum (joint venture with Italian Eni, Russian Lukoil, and IFC) is also using the technology in its Falak and Dorra fields in the Western Desert[1].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Hydraulic fracking, Egypt
State or province:Western Desert
Location of conflict:Western Desert
Accuracy of locationLOW (Country level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Water access rights and entitlements
Shale gas fracking
Oil and gas refining
Specific commodities:Natural Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The two deepest gas fields in the Western Desert are named Assil and Karam: Shell anticipates that total production from the two will be 200 mmscf/d.[2]. Together with drilling in other countries, Egyptian operations are part of a goal for the company to reach a target of producing 250,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day world-wide from oil-rich shale by 2017[3].

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Project area:110000000
Level of Investment for the conflictive project600000000
Type of populationUnknown
Affected Population:17000000
Start of the conflict:2012
Company names or state enterprises:Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) from Netherlands
Apache Corp.
Agiba Petroleum Company from Egypt
Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation from Egypt
Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi (Eni) from Italy
Lukoil from Russian Federation
Dana Gas PJSC
Dana Gas Egypt from Egypt
Relevant government actors:Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs, Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency , Egyptian General Petroleum Company
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Platform London,, Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR),
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsPotential: Malnutrition
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Loss of livelihood
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:New legislation
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Application of existing regulations
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Proposal and development of alternatives:-The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) is calling for an immediate moratorium on fracking until comprehensive studies are done to ensure that Egypt has the facilities to monitor the practice efficiently and to prevent the Nile becoming contaminated.
-The organization has also called on Shell, Dana Petroleum, Apache and any other companies that frack to publish the chemical components used and processes of treatment and disposal.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:It is too early to tell. There have been calls for a moratorium on fracking, but there is already a project in operation in South-East Egypt.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Environmental protection law 4/1994

Egyptian Government (2005). Environmental Impact Assessment Guidelines for Oil and Gas Sector. Available at: Accessed 8 January 2013.
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References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[1] Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (2012). Oil Companies in Egypt Use Controversial Technology Banned in a Number of Countries. Available at Accessed 14 January 2013.
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[2] Royal Dutch Shell (2012). Royal Dutch Shell Takes Final Investment Decision on Alam el Shawish West Gas Development Project. Available at: Accessed 18 January 2013.
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[3] Seeking Alpha (2013). 5 Hidden Oil Shale Plays For 2013. Available at: Accessed 27 January 2013.
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Al Jazeera English. FaultLines. Fracking in America.
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Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. Fracking brief. (Arabic)

Earth Focus and Ecologist Film Unit. Fracking Hell, the Untold Story. (January 11, 2011):
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Green Prophet
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Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights
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Twitter debate (2012). Available at Accessed 8 January 2013.
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Viney, Steven (2012). Are oil and gas companies fracking up Egypts environment? Available at: Accessed 8 January 2013.
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Mid-East Environment
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Daily News Egypt (2012). Shell to invest $600m in Western Desert operation. Available at: Accessed 8 January 2013.
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Egypt Independent
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Egypt Independent
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Platform London
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Global Post
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Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Ecologist Film Unit (2012). Fracking Hell - The Untold Story. Available at Accessed 8 January 2013.
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Unearthed Motion Pictures (2012). Unearthed: The Fracking Facade. Available at: Accessed 8 January 2013.
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Meta information
Contributor:Reem Labib
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:239
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