The fourth ministerial meeting of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) convened on March 9 and concurred that Egypt will continue its presidency of the EMGF led by the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Tarek El Molla, until the end of 2021. Cyprus will be next in line to assume EMGF’s presidency in January 2022.

The meeting was attended by the EMGF founding members; energy ministers of Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, and Palestine.

This is considered the EMGF’s first meeting since the charter was signed back in 2020 indicating a significant milestone for the achievements realized since the forum’s inauguration in January 2019. During the meeting, the members appointed Osama Mobarez, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, as an Acting Secretary-General of the EMGF. 

The significance of the meeting was underlined by El Molla as he stated that EMGF is one of the driving tools for economic growth in the region and that a lot of effort has been put forth in the last two years to put it into action despite the pandemic. He also highlighted the vital role of the private sector’s participation in the natural gas industry in supporting the goals of the forum, noting the importance of diversifying the energy mix as the world features transition to clean energy.

On the other hand, the ministers of Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Greece, Jordan, Palestine, and Italy praised the forum noting that it has gained  global attention. They also affirmed the need to reduce carbon emissions and switch to clean fuels in the future.

The members delved into several issues of concern including developing a Long Term Strategy (LTS) for the EMGF and two new initiatives on gas decarbonization and utilizing liquified natural gas (LNG) as a fuel for vessels, all in line with the environmental global standards. Thus, the EMGF members agreed to form a task force of experts to develop a strategy for each initiative.

Additionally, the ministers reviewed the Gas Industry Advisory Committee’s (GIAC) study on gas supply and demand in the East Mediterranean in light of gas market assessment and its forecast.  They also adopted the EMGF 2021 work program which targets the completion of the forum’s institutional establishment in parallel with its activities, including studies, initiatives, and workshops.

The members also welcomed France as an EMGF new member country and the US as an observer. The next ministerial meeting will be held in Cairo in Q4 2021.

The EMGF was founded with the purpose of boosting cooperation and optimizing economic exploitation for the countries’ natural gas reserves. It operates as a link between gas producers and consumers in the Eastern Mediterranean region and contributes to realizing the vision that benefits member countries and their people.