The Egypt Petroleum Show (EGYPS 2019) saw a number of roundtable discussions on major developments and changes in the North Africa and the Mediterranean region’s energy sector.

Four roundtables were held on the first day, February 11, with discussions revolving around regional updates and the strategies of stakeholders, providing an opportunity for networking and exchanging ideas and various points of view.

The first roundtable focused on regional projects and integration opportunities. Panelists were Abed Ezz El Regal, Egyptian Petroleum Company (EGPC) CEO, and Karim Badawi, Schlumberger’s Managing Director for Egypt and East Mediterranean.

Gas fields in the East Mediterranean and pipeline projects between Cyprus and Egypt were discussed, as well as Egyptian exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Jordan. On the Egypt-Jordan Agreement, Badawi said that this was a positive collaborative step between the two countries to share best practices and successes of each country and to provide gas supply to Jordan. According to him, it also fosters the leveraging of technologies between the two nation states.

The second roundtable saw Dr. Saad Helal, the Egyptian Petrochemical Holding Company (ECHEM) Chairman, and Giacomo Rispoli, the Executive Vice President Portfolio Management, Supply and Licensing at Eni Refining and Marketing, discuss refining and petrochemicals capacities and developments across the region.

The MENA and Mediterranean region is a strategic location to secure feedstock and may emerge as a petrochemical lab due to its vast gas reserves. Egypt plans to develop its eight refineries with design capacity of 38 million ton/year and has ongoing projects to expand refinery capacity to 40 million ton and improve efficiency.

Meanwhile, Algeria is becoming an attractive country for investors and is planning to build four refineries worth $6 billion. Libya is positively adjusting its refining capacity, improving its facilities, and embracing digitalization strategies. Trading routes and pricing mechanisms to support these changes will likely further develop in coming years.

The third roundtable witnessed a dialogue on natural gas, LNG trade, and the best practices to increase regional cooperation. The session featured Osama El Bakly, Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) Chairman, and the General Manager of Uganda National Pipeline Company (UNPC), John B. Habumugisha. Discussions focused on the rising role of the Mediterranean as a natural gas hub, and infrastructure developments in Egypt.

“Egypt has a much faster rate of developing fields compared to other oil and gas producing countries”. El Bakly stated, adding that there is a need to “maintain investment in the exploration of renewable sources”.

Finally, the fourth roundtable focused on the rising role of Egypt as a leading regional energy hub. Led by Magdy Galal, the Vice Chairman for Operations and National Gas Grids at EGAS, and Nicolas Katcharov, the Vice President North Africa and Middle East Operations at Edison International.

“Although regional barriers exist, moves are being made, and have been made to work with Cyprus and the European Union markets, which are excellent first steps,” Katcharov noted.