President Abdel Fattah El Sisi opened the fourth edition of the Egypt Petroleum Show (EGYPS 2020) on February 11. The three-day event was inaugurated under the high patronage of the Egyptian president at Egypt’s Al Manara International Exhibition Center, under the theme, ‘North Africa and the Mediterranean: Delivering the Energy Needs of Tomorrow’.

The event was attended by His Excellency Egyptian Prime Minister, Mostafa Madbouly; His Excellency Eng. Tarek El Molla, the Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources in addition to a galaxy of Egyptian ministers, top government officials, senior executives, oil and gas industry’s leaders, advocates and partners. Furthermore, EGYPS 2020 witnessed the participation of around 16 CEOs from international oil companies (IOCs) for the first time, which reflects the  growing confidence in Egypt and the significant role it plays in the whole region.

EGYPS is one of the most prominent events in the oil and gas sector scene, not only in Egypt but also in the North Africa and the Mediterranean region. This year’s edition featured the oil and gas sector’s strides toward achieving modernization and transforming Egypt into a regional energy hub.

With being attended by a group of notable officials, the event offered a wide range of experts’ insights, policies, and strategies toward developing the sector’s value chain, as well as showcasing the region’s growing potentials especially after recent discoveries. In addition to that, EGYPS has succeeded to become an established international platform that highlights the sector’s unbridled successes and milestones.

In his speech, H.E Eng. Tarek El Molla, the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, referred to EGYPS as a major platform and one of the important factors in implementing the ministry’s strategies and sharing the sector’s success stories and reforms.

El Molla praised the attention paid by the Egyptian President to the oil and gas sector, which directly has contributed to achieving tangible milestones internally, regionally, and internationally.

He pointed out that Egypt has managed to overcome many obstacles and reinforced its stability by implementing an inclusive social and economic program. This program led to achieving positive results; including boosting Egypt’s growth rates and reducing the budget deficit, the unemployment rate, and the inflation rate. “In addition to that, many national projects were executed, contributing to establishing Egypt as a role model in achieving security, stability and development,” El Molla added.

When it comes to the oil and gas sector, El Molla remarked that the sector had faced several challenges which led to the accumulation of the IOCs’ arrears, drop in the investments rate, and pausing many projects. All of these consequences resulted in crude oil and natural gas production deficit. However, the oil and gas sector has succeeded, during the previous four years, in turning out these catastrophes into inspiring success stories.

“The oil and gas sector managed to achieve a surplus in Egypt’s trade balance, for the first time, in fiscal year (FY) 2018/19. In addition to that, foreign investments in the oil and gas sector reached $35 billion and the IOCs’ arrears dropped by more than 80%, which helped in retaining the foreign investors’ confidence in Egypt and encouraging them to pump new investments,” El Molla said.

Furthermore, the minister remarked that the sector’s growth has been boosted from -11% to 20%, enabling Egypt to achieve natural gas self-sufficiency. Moreover, El Molla highlighted that Egypt’s crude oil and natural gas production has hit its highest rates in history by producing around 1.9 million barrels of oil equivalent per day in August 2019 (mmboe/d). Adding to that, the price per equivalent barrel dropped to $2.9 in FY 2018/19, compared to $4.2 in FY 2015/16.

Furthermore, El Molla stressed that the sector managed to achieve unprecedented records in connecting housing units to the national gas grid.

Speaking of transforming Egypt into a regional energy hub, El Molla showcased some initiatives in this regard including “developing infrastructure and reinforcing cooperation with our foreign partners,” highlighting that “one of the most important practical steps in this regard is the resumption of natural gas exports to Jordan, as well as the arrival of natural gas from the eastern Mediterranean fields to Egypt’s liquefaction plants and then re-export it.”

Referring to the sector’s young professionals, the minister stressed on the necessity of giving more attention to the development of human resources. He explained that “the ministry has been implementing a program to qualify young and middle management cadres, in partnership with major IOCs in their locations inside and outside Egypt,” adding that “these calibres’ training ranged from 6 months to a year to prepare them to lead the sector in the future.”

El Molla pointed out that the success stories in the oil and gas  sector stemmed from “the conscious political leadership, as well as the country’s political and security stability.

During a tour of the exhibition, President Sisi, accompanied by El Molla attended a presentation from the Middle Management Program’s participants. After that, President Sisi engaged with a number of exhibiting companies; including Apache, Wintershall Dea, Bechtel, ExxonMobil, and many more, motivating them to increase their investments in Egypt, especially in the exploration and production (E&P) activities.

In a keynote speech, Christopher Hudson, President of dmg events, referred to the continuous growth of the show to become one of the most significant events in oil industry.

“In recent years, the Egypt Petroleum Show has become the main platform for the African and East Mediterranean energy sector,” he commented.

Hudson stated that “our ability to create this unique show is in no small part due to the very active strategic guidance and support of the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, His Excellency Tarek El Molla,” highlighting that “when we started planning the 2020 edition, we formed executive committees and technical committees of industry experts who have worked tirelessly to shape the conference.”

Moreover, Hudson stressed that EGYPS provides a unique breadth of insights, policies, strategies, and technical leadership across all elements of the future energy value chain. Thus, “2020 is likely to become a pivotal year for our industry globally and in this region.”

With an eye on positioning natural gas as a major component of energy transition, Hudson noted that there is a need to recognise the ever-growing need for responding to the carbon challenge and access to affordable clean energy. In addition to that, Hudson stressed on the significance of attracting new talents to the oil and gas sector, in order to prepare them to be the sector’s successful future leaders, harnessing the benefits of a newly digitalised value chain.

Concluding his speech, Hudson stated that over the event’s three days, the strategic and technical conferences would review the sector’s opportunities and challenges, and feature a remarkable array of speakers providing the full spectrum of policy and commercial viewpoints to shape the industry’s future. And as a sign of the event’s success, this year’s edition has attracted over 1,600 delegates and more than 270 speakers across five conference tracks, in addition to hosting over 400 exhibitors showcasing their latest products, technologies, services and solutions.

The opening ceremony was moderated by the TV Presenter, Osama Kamal, who stressed on the vital role played by the oil and gas sector in achieving Egypt’s vision, under  Sisi’s conscious policies and strategies. Furthermore, Kamal affirmed that Egypt has utilized its oil and gas wealth to accomplish robust growth and reinforce its partnerships and agreements with other countries.

Kamal’s remarks were supported by a documentary highlighting the noticeable boom seen in the Egyptian oil and gas sector. The documentary explained how Egypt is enriched by innovative partnerships, new crude oil and natural gas discoveries, and transformation strategies, stating that these factors helped Egypt to gain the required drivers to achieve progress. The documentary also highlighted  the significance of the Economic Reform Programme which helped the Egyptian oil and gas sector contributes around 27% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018/2019.