At the foot of the Great Pyramids of Giza, Methanex Egypt and the Canadian Embassy hosted a one-of-a-kind dinner reception on November 18 to mark Methanex Corporation’s board of directors first visit to Egypt since
the company’s methanol plant started production in 2011. The event, held at the Sound and Light Plateau, celebrated Methanex Egypt’s successful partnerships in the country.
During their visit, Methanex Board of Directors met with HE Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Tarek El Molla, and visited Methanex Egypt’s state-of-the-art methanol production facility in Damietta, which is among the most energy efficient methanol plants in the world. As the largest Canadian investor in Egypt, Methanex Board of Directors’ visit underscored the country’s outstanding story of economic and energy reform.
The event kicked off with a cocktail reception for the company’s partners, followed by speeches from Methanex Egypt Managing Director, Mohamed Shindy, and the Canadian Ambassador to Egypt, Jess Dutton. After the brief yet impactful speeches, the audience was spellbound by the marvelous Sound and Light Show in addition to an unforgettable performance by singer Nesma Mahgoub.
Shindy kicked off his speech with an inspirational anecdote on how to find true meaning and essence in everything one does. The company’s Managing Director reflected on what the meaning and point behind Methanex’s work could be. “I think what we have created here in Egypt as a company is absolutely magnificent. It has created significant value for the company. It created significant value for our partners, and it created significant value for the community — for everybody, whether contractors, lawyers, bankers, our friends at Egyptian Petrochemicals Holding Company (ECHEM) and Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS), and the ministry,” he said.
Shindy highlighted the meeting with the minister, who had expressed his total support for the company. According to Shindy, the minister deemed Methanex to be one of the most successful ventures with a very bright future that adds real value to the country. “I hope we can continue to add meaning and to have meaning in Egypt; and I am sure we will, because I am very proud of the company I work for. It does not take short cuts and does things the proper way. So, that makes me very proud,” Shindy concluded.
This was followed by the Canadian Ambassador, Jess Dutton’s keynote speech. In his address, the Ambassador pointed out that this event is very significant for him as a Canadian ambassador for a number of reasons. The first of which is generating value for shareholders, which has been a great return of investment for Methanex. Secondly, he mentioned “the partnership [Methanex has with their] local partners and the incredible contribution that Methanex is making to Egypt and the people of Egypt.”
Furthermore, Dutton praised the positive economic reforms that the Egyptian government has been undertaking over the past few years, specifically in the oil and gas sector.
Dutton stressed that, as a Canadian ambassador, he keeps an eye on Canada’s strong reputation in Egypt, clarifying that “Canada has an incredible reputation in Egypt and a lot of it is because of companies like Methanex.”
Additionally, the ambassador agreed with what Shindy had mentioned about “creating value and meaning — a leading employer creating high-quality jobs, [as well as] transferring very important technologies that are critical to Egypt’s development. And, of course, giving back to the community.” Dutton further expressed his admiration for Methanex’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs, saying, “I am really proud that Methanex has the largest CSR program of any Canadian company in the history of Egypt. When you are talking about a country that is thousands of years old, that is very significant.”
Moreover, Dutton highlighted Methanex’s ability to “partner with local partners that have been supported through our development programs, to help amplify some of the work that we had done to create jobs for young people, to support the community where we are active in Damietta thanks to the incredible Canadian values, and thanks to the culture of this company, giving back to the communities where it operates.”
The ambassador then thanked the board of directors and the executives for convening their board meeting in Egypt. “It really adds great value to the overall Canada-Egypt relationship. I have been here for two years. Over the two years, Methanex makes incredible contributions to this country. I think the professionalism and dynamism of this company in the world, and under the leadership of Shindy here in Egypt, is just fabulous.”
Further Cooperation with the Ministry
Earlier that same day, Methanex’s Board of Directors had met with El Molla, in the presence of Dutton. The meeting was also attended by Methanex Corporation’s CEO, John Floren; representatives from Methanex’s Executive Leadership team; Methanex Egypt Managing Director, Mohamed Shindy; the ECHEM Chairman, Chemist Saad Helal; and the EGAS Chairman, Osama El-Bakly.
During the meeting, Floren updated the minister on the company’s robust performance over the past few years. The only methanol production plant in the country, Methanex Egypt, started production in 2011 and has a production capacity of 1.3 million tons (MT) per year. Methanol produced in the company’s plant in Damietta is either exported or sold domestically and is a main feedstock that enables a wide array of methanol-dependent industries, including construction products, plastics, and formaldehyde.
Shindy also briefed the minister on the company’s social investment program in Damietta. In February 2019, the company signed a two-year partnership agreement with the International Labor Organization (ILO) to extend the successful ‘Decent Jobs for Egypt’s Young People’ to Damietta, through a $1,000,000 donation to the ILO. The project aims to support entrepreneurship and employability through addressing the key challenges of youth unemployment and underemployment to deliver 500 jobs over the two-year duration of the project.
The minister stressed that the board of directors’ first visit to Egypt reflects the positive investment climate in Egypt and the country’s political and economic stability. Additionally, El Molla pointed out that Damietta’s methanol plant, which is considered the first Egyptian-Canadian project for methanol production, is one of the projects that maximizes the added value of natural gas. As methanol is one of the fundamental resources in the petrochemical industry, the minister said that the ministry’s strategy aims to implement petrochemical projects that attract investments and achieve the optimal economic use for Egypt’s natural gas resources.
The Egyptian Methanex Methanol Company S.A.E. is the Egyptian joint venture (JV) operation of Methanex Corporation, a Vancouver-based, publicly traded company and the world’s largest producer and supplier of methanol to major international markets. Methanex holds a 50% interest in the JV, together with state partners in Egypt, such as Egyptian Petrochemical Holding Company (ECHEM), Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS), Egyptian National Gas Company (GASCO), and the Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP).