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East-Mediterranean partnerships key for Egypt hub plans

Feb 11, 2020
3 min read
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Egypt is set firmly on its path of progressing the eastern Mediterranean energy hub in collaboration with neighboring countries despite geopolitical uncertainties.

Egypt is currently maintaining the sustainable development of its regional plans, while also tackling tensions in the wider region with factional fighting in Libya that has severely affected domestic production and halted exports and also with Turkey’s controversial drilling for oil in Cypriot waters, where Greek Cypriot authorities have already awarded hydrocarbon exploration rights to Italian and French companies.

At the Egypt Petroleum Show (EGYPS), His Excellency Tarek El Molla, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources of Egypt said the country has become known in the region not just for having a futuristic energy vision but also for delivering on its projects.

“Despite political issues, energy has been as the centre of these issues. In the oil and gas industry, we’ve seen a lot wars, but reforms can play a role,” El Molla said, adding: “We think that energy could be a catalyst for the wellbeing and the welfare of the countries. Specifically, for the east mediterranean countries, where we have a wealth of gas and this could be a reason for peace and cooperation between the countries.”

“We aspire to cooperate with neighboring countries - Egypt cannot be a hub without its neighbours, we integrate to benefit the people of these countries,” he added.

Additionally, Frank Fannon, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Energy Resources, U.S. Department of State said that Turkey could benefit from the gas renaissance in the region by energy cooperation and participating in this region. As part of the U.S. foreign policy, Fannon said: “We ask all countries not to behave provocatively.”

In the spirit of partnership and cooperation, Egypt continues its push to attract more international oil companies (IOCs) and technology companies to bring innovation to the country.

“We need to reduce the cost of production, otherwise we will have a challenge in competition and it impacts our budget as well - the answer is technology and efficiency,” El Molla said.

One of is long-time partners in Egypt is Bechtel, which delivered an LNG project in with the fastest delivery of an LNG train, according to Brendan Bechtel, Chairman and CEO, Bechtel.

“We get very excited with countries like Egypt that have a combination of vision, population growth and demand to move up the whole economy… There is tremendous opportunity here but the biggest challenge to growth is the depressed price of LNG,” Bechtel said. “The first wave is coming to a natural close, while the second wave is now ready for off take - but what’s making that difficult is off take prices,” he said, referring to the development of LNG to export of the product.