Egypt will be self-sufficient in refined oil by 2023, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El Molla said in an interview with Bloomberg in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he was attending a climate conference.

Due to a $7 billion project to upgrade existing refineries and construct seven new ones, Egypt’s goal of self-sufficiency is now within reach. El Molla noted that the new facilities will have the capacity to produce 6.2 million tons per year (mt/y) of products, such as gasoline and diesel.

He further elaborated that although the country is not a big oil producer, refined oil products will be the real game changer. “Instead of importing refined products, we’d rather import crude oil and refine it” locally.

It should be noted that Egypt has become a self-sufficient gas producer after the discovery of the giant Zohr field in the Mediterranean Sea in 2015. With liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports growing again, the country plans to negotiate more long-term sales deals with customers while reducing its dependence on the spot market. To illustrate, Egypt currently sells about 60% of its LNG through long-term contracts and 40% on a spot basis, the minister said.

He concluded that neighboring countries see Egypt as a major gas hub and an outlet for their gas.