Global Warming has become an issue threatening the existence of all living beings. Hence, many leaders across the globe have been directing their states to commit to climate action in order to face climate change. In this regard, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has issued directives to decrease emissions from the electricity sector by 33%, oil and gas by 65%, and transportation by 7%, inspiring the country to work hand in hand to achieve these goals. Accordingly, the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources (MOP) has set natural gas as the first option in the energy transition to enable a safe transition with low-carbon emissions.
Natural Gas: The Main Fuel in Egypt’s Energy Mix
In order to ensure an environmental-friendly petroleum sector, MOP is consistently coordinating with the Ministry of Environment to reduce carbon emissions.
Moreover, Egypt is working, through the national strategy to confront climate change and reduce emissions by 2050, on many distinguished initiatives that support the process of reducing emissions in the field of energy through the expansion of the uses of natural gas as a fuel and the continuation of its essential role as a low-emissions energy source during the energy transition period, as well as projects to improve energy efficiency, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Tarek El Molla previously stated. This comes as Natural gas accounted for 65% of all hydrocarbons consumption in Egypt as mentioned by El Molla in March.
The East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) is also playing a role in facing climate change as it launched two initiatives to encourage the use of natural gas and liquified natural gas (LNG) as a fuel for ships, which comes as a part of the emissions-reduction plans. Additionally, the EMGF member countries agreed, as individuals and members of the forum, that facing climate change and providing clean energy sources has become a necessity.
MOP is further coordinating with the Ministry of Environment to have a special event during the COP27 conference, which will be held in Egypt in November 2022, represented in Decarbonization Day. This event/session will aim to shed light on the policies and initiatives adopted by the companies working in Egypt’s petroleum industry to reduce emissions and capture and store carbon in a way to achieve sustainable development and support global efforts confronting climate change.
LNG Supports Egypt’s Energy Transition
Egypt has been focusing efforts on producing natural gas to have a surplus to export. The country does not only work on its renewable energy, but it is also boosting its offshore natural gas output, making a synergy in green energy transition and natural gas development, which challenges the belief that renewable energy and natural gas “are in zero-sum competition.” The energy policy adopted by Egypt is playing a role in changing “the terms of the global debate on climate change by demonstrating that there is a basic compatibility between developing domestic natural gas resources and developing renewable energy sources,” according to a Middle East Institute (MEI) publication.
By increasing LNG exports, Egypt will secure foreign currency that supports energy transition. El Molla declared in ADIPEC 2021 that Egypt’s successes in the field of exporting natural gas and generating revenues strongly support investment in clean energy, achieving the targeted transformation and transition in the field of energy and reducing emissions.
Egypt has further started to change the collective consciousness to have its individuals use natural gas as the main fuel for their vehicles. The ministries of petroleum and transportation are cooperating to enable fuel conversion.
In December 2021, Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy, Mohamed Shaker, announced 2022 as “The Year of Green Hydrogen”.
There are several ways of producing hydrogen, one of which is natural gas reforming/gasification. “Synthesis gas—a mixture of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and a small amount of carbon dioxide—is created by reacting natural gas with high-temperature steam. The carbon monoxide is reacted with water to produce additional hydrogen,” according to the Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC).
Using natural gas is the most efficient, cheapest, and most common way to produce hydrogen. Egypt does not only use natural gas to produce hydrogen, but the ministries of petroleum and electricity work together to produce different types of green hydrogen from different sources. Moreover, the north African country aspires to be a green hydrogen export hub for Europe to ease the path toward emissions reduction.
Therefore, natural gas has great importance in Egypt’s green strategy as it contributes to several pillars of the energy transition plan. Using natural gas empowers Egypt’s energy transition and makes it feasible as the country is rich with natural gas and has a huge natural gas surplus that could be used in the transition.