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Huge offshore gas field a blessing for Egypt at a key time, experts say

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CAIRO — Experts say the discovery of a huge natural gas field off the Egyptian coast is a major boon for the country that will help alleviate energy shortages and boost the economy.

PHOTO: In this Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015 photo provided by Egypt's state news agency MEAN, Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi, third left, and his delegation meet with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, center, and an Egyptian delegation, in Cairo, Egypt. The Italian energy company Eni SpA announced Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015, it has discovered a "supergiant" natural gas field off Egypt, describing it as the "largest-ever" found in the Mediterranean Sea. Eni said the discovery — made in its Zohr prospect "in the deep waters of Egypt" — could hold a potential 30 trillion cubic feet of gas over an area of 100 square kilometers (38.6 square miles). (MEAN via AP)
In this Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015 photo provided by Egypt's state news agency MEAN, Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi, third left, and his delegation meet with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, center, and an Egyptian delegation, in Cairo, Egypt. The Italian energy company Eni SpA announced Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015, it has discovered a "supergiant" natural gas field off Egypt, describing it as the "largest-ever" found in the Mediterranean Sea. Eni said the discovery — made in its Zohr prospect "in the deep waters of Egypt" — could hold a potential 30 trillion cubic feet of gas over an area of 100 square kilometers (38.6 square miles). (MEAN via AP)

They say that the new "supergiant" offshore field revealed a day earlier by Italy's Eni SpA and billed as the "largest-ever" found in the Mediterranean Sea could alleviate the Arab world's most populous nation's need for gas imports.

Egypt is making a gradual economic recovery from the years of chaos since a 2011 uprising toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. Rolling power cuts have been a regular feature of life as the country has been ruled by the military, an Islamist president and then a military-backed government.

This summer, however, Cairo has been largely spared the power cuts.

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