Tarek El-Molla, Egypt's Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources speaks during an interview with Reuters at his office in Cairo, Egypt, October 29, 2015.
CAIRO – 12 February 2019: “Egypt is embarking on an ambitious program to become a regional energy hub, with Gas as the most important pillar, we do not intend to depend only on the Egyptian resources and facilities. Our endeavour is to be the gateway for all East Med Gas to access potential markets,” said Egypt’s Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El-Molla said in an interview with the Cyprus News Agency (CNA).
The minister went on to speak of the agreement signed between Egypt and Cyprus, pointing out that it has increased investor attraction towards the country that is well on its way to becoming a regional energy hub.
“The Governmental agreement signed between Egypt and Cyprus was indeed very important as an umbrella to encourage investors. It highly emphasizes the two governments’ support and commitment of this cross-border project,” he said, adding, “As a result, we have witnessed great interest from the IOCs, down streamers and financial institutions. Discussions are now taking place to accelerate the process after completing the constitutional and legal procedures at each country. This shall then be followed by a commercial agreement for the project.”
The minister explained that Egypt works very hard on enhancing bilateral and multilateral cooperation with international players, and that the country is focused on improving its image on a global level, especially given the fact that the region is seen as a conflict zone for a significant amount of time. “It is about time now that we start sending a different message to the world and build trust that this is a safe and secure environment for investment. This image will benefit all of us and open lots of opportunities in many fields; not just in the Gas industry.”
He continued, “We are constantly enhancing bilateral and multilateral cooperation with all the relevant partners; an obvious example is the Egyptian – Cypriot - Greek cooperation going on the highest level. It’s now time to extend an umbrella to include all these cooperation efforts and to set a mechanism for a structured policy dialogue to build a shared vision and set the scene for a stable regional gas market; one that can optimally utilize the current and future infrastructure to reduce cost and keep competitive edge, minimize risk, and encourage the quick monetization of the regional reserves and attract more investments in the gas industry in East Med.
Egypt signed an agreement with Cyprus to connect Aphrodite gas field to its liquefaction plants for re-exportation.
The agreement is considered a general framework to establish a direct sea gas line between both countries, according to spokesman of the Petroleum Ministry Hamdy Abdel Aziz.
The agreement was signed between Egyptian Minister of Petroleum Tarek el-Molla, and Minister of Energy, Industry, Tourism and Trade of Cyprus Yiorgos Lakkotrypis, in the presence of Ambassador of Egypt to Cyprus Mai Taha Khalil, and a representative of the European Commission for Energy that regulates the general framework of the agreement between the two countries.
Both countries were planning to link Aphrodite field with Egypt's liquefaction plants in Idku and Damietta after President Abdel Fatah al Sisi visited Cyprus, and discussed the construction of a pipeline to deliver gas to Egypt from Cyprus’s Aphrodite field in November.
Molla said that the Egyptian-Cypriot agreement is not only for the implementation of a sea pipeline, but will also contribute positively to the supply of gas to the European Union.
In April, Egypt signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a strategic cooperation in Energy with the European Union, stipulating to update the energy sector cooperation between both sides and implementing a clean energy transition.
He referred to the agreement as one of the main axes to support the economic relationships between both countries and an important step to maximize the benefits of Cypriot gas discoveries.
Petroleum Minister Molla emphasized the importance of the Egyptian role in the future of gas in the Middle East region with its strategic location, strong infrastructure and mega gas discoveries.
Egypt is moving towards self-sufficiency in gas and becoming the Middle East’s energy hub, with expectations to stop importing liquefied gas in 2018, after the production of its giant gas field, Zohr, began in December 2017.
The Italian energy company Eni discovered in 2015 Zohr gas field in the Shorouk concession with around 850 billion cubic meters of gas.
Egypt’s gas production currently stands at 5.5 billion cubic feet a day.
Meanwhile, Egypt signed a deal in 2013 with Cyprus, allowing both states to explore oil and gas in their economic zones.
In 2017, Cyprus and Egypt agreed to start discussions on an agreement to build a gas pipe from a Cypriot natural gas field to Egypt, followed by signing an agreement between Egyptian Minister of Petroleum Molla and Cyprus' Minister of Energy Lakkotrypis to transport gas from Cyprus to Egypt via a maritime pipeline.
Additional Reporting: Egypt Today Staff