The wave of change has dominated every aspect in the Egyptian society. The Petroleum Sector has had its share of alterations that led to the appointment of a new Petroleum Minister, Eng. Mahmoud Latif, Chairman of EGAS. Though it is known that this interim cabinet is selected to conduct workflow for six months only, there is a long list of reforms and demands that is required to be fulfilled by Eng. Latif

Before the official announcement of appointing Latif, the names of well-known figures were disclosed as possible candidates, such as Eng. Ibrahim Saleh, the former chairman of the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) and Ahmed El-Touny. The reactions towards the suggested candidates were different among the petroleum sector, yet reactions were much different about Eng. Latif and a state of ambiguities about how far would the new Minister be up to the challenges and expectations?

To answer this question, Egypt Oil & Gas Newspaper conducted a pilot study to investigate the demands of the petroleum personnel in this critical period of time and their expectations from and evaluation of the newly appointed Minister. What was easily observed is that the most interviews shared common demands, which can reflect the lack of some elements in the past.

“we had a problem of decentralization of governmental entities; the petroleum sector should be assembled under one main governmental entity,” said a top official of the EGPC. “Moreover, there should be a coordination between all companies of the sector in order to save time and effort and speed up the wheel of operations.”

Asked about the current burdens facing the new Minister, the official asked to be anonymous referred to the temporary labor as the main problem nowadays. “To solve this problem, new set of rules and work laws should be applied,” suggested the EGPC official.

Stating the previous factors as the elements that need instant solution, most of the interviewed sources called for direct decisions made by the Minister to ensure lifting the gap of salaries between employees, maintain a steady oil and gas revenue to the national economy, enforce right laws to lure more investments and keep the existing ones.

”Despite the time-limited agenda for the new Minister to implement the needed reforms, we believe if a proficient schedule is set, many issues can be solved,” said another official. “Another critical point that should be looked at is the re-schedule of debts payments for the foreign partners, which have negatively affected the credibility of the sector.”

He further added, “there is a necessity to release new areas through tenders, which will be a key factor to intensify the exploration operations in the country, and hence, this will increase the production volume of oil and gas.”

Dr. Hamdy El-Banby, former Egyptian petroleum minister, declared that a good minister is the one who focuses on expanding the sector’s production volumes, growing the exploration and discovery platforms over the coming period of time.
“I would suggest fast decision-making, avoid personal interests and start a brand new era in the Ministry are key elements for a successful Ministry,” advice El-Banbi.
Who is Mahmoud Latif?

Mahmoud Latif Amer graduated in June 1974 with a degree in petroleum engineering from the Engineering Faculty of Cairo University. At the beginning of his professional life, he joined the Gulf of Suez Petroleum Company (GUPCO) and was appointed in a later stage as the assistant to the president of Khalda Petroleum Company.
In October 1999, when former minister Eng. Sameh Fahmy took over, he reshuffled the board of Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) and appointed Latif to the post of Vice Chairman for Natural Gas.

HE was a key figure in implementing Egypt’s integrated gas strategy and was the head of many petroleum companies including the Egyptian Natural Gas Company (GASCO), the General Petroleum Company (GPC) and Badr El Din Company (BAPETCO). In a later stage, Latif was appointed as the chairman of the state-owned Egypt Natural Gas Holding Co (EGAS).

By Tamer Abdel Aziz

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