The Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Tarek El Molla, shared the petroleum sector’s achievements and challenges in the past period stating that “the oil and gas sector has been moving forward with all its activities and plans steadily despite the volatile circumstances which have proven the efficiency and sustainability of the sector’s strategic plans and bold reforms.” This came during a British Egyptian Business Association’s (BEBA) Egypt’s Green Economy webinar under the title “Future of Oil and Gas: Challenges and Opportunities,” which was held on November 9.
The sector’s thrive amid the COVID-19 crisis stems from the government’s strategic plan that “has succeeded in striking the right balance between the pandemic containment and the country’s development priorities,” El Molla remarked. Focusing on the sector’s successes in that period, the minister pointed out that Egypt has signed 14 exploration and production (E&P) agreements with several international oil companies (IOCs). The ministry has also managed to inaugurate two major petrochemical projects recently; the Egyptian Refinery Company’s (ERC) project in Mostorod and Alexandria National Refining and Petrochemicals Company’s (ANRPC) project. The minister remarked that three refining projects are currently underway with investments of $5.7 billion, which will contribute to achieving self-sufficiency in petroleum products by 2023.
The minister also highlighted the signing of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) charter which targets the development of natural gas fields and maximizing the utilization of natural resources in the Mediterranean region. The past five years have greatly altered Egypt’s natural gas position from an importer to an exporter as a result of several natural gas development operations in the Mediterranean, El Molla explained. This has led to converting all power stations to work on natural gas in addition to the momentous natural gas delivery project to households and car conversion project to run on natural gas instead of gasoline. He added that by 2023, the number of natural gas stations will reach 609 stations and about 263,000 cars will run on natural gas.
Joining the conversation, Khaled Kacem, Vice President and Country Chairman at Shell Egypt, spoke about Egypt as a focal point for Shell’s investments. Kacem noted that not only Egypt has valuable economic potential, but that “Egypt also has the natural resources and the leadership to continue prospering.” Kacem also praised “Egypt’s location and strategic infrastructure that allows it to be the regional energy hub,” highlighting that it is a part of the ministry’s plan which Shell fully supports.
Karim Badawy, Managing Director at Egypt and East Mediterranean Schlumberger, addressed Schlumberger’s role in the Modernization Project on the digital front embodied in the Egypt Upstream Gateway (EUG). He stated that “[EUG] not only combines having national data repository, digitalization the whole subsurface of Egypt but also fostering and providing a digital platform to attract investments for bid rounds.”
Khaled Aboubakr, Executive Chairman of TAQA Arabia, offered his insights on Egypt’s reforms plans and its impact on the country’s downstream sector, in addition to the company’s investments. He noted that “the ministry’s reform plans made in the past six years have made Egypt a role model globally.” This was mainly a result of achieving exceptional record time in production such as the case in Zohr field. He highlighted that “Egypt is becoming a regional gas hub, building hope to leverage more supply to Europe and to the rest of the gas market.”
The minister concluded with a message to IOCs stating that Egypt welcomes investments in the petroleum sector, noting that the diversity of IOCs working in Egypt is in the interest of everyone.
The session was moderated by Egypt Oil & Gas’s Managing Director and Partner, Mohamed Fouad. The event was organized by BEBA, the British Chamber of Commerce in Cairo, and the British Embassy. The attendees included the British Ambassador in Cairo, the Ambassador of Egypt in London, and the President of BEBA.