The Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Tarek El Molla, met the Board of Directors of Methanex Corporation, the largest Canadian investor in Egypt, in the presence of the Ambassador of Canada, Jess Dutton, according to Methanex’s Press Release.
Attendees included Methanex Corporation’s CEO John Floren, representatives from Methanex’s Executive Leadership team, Methanex Egypt Managing Director, Mohamed Shindy, the Egyptian Petrochemicals Holding Company’s (ECHEM) Chairman, Chemist Saad Helal, and the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) Chairman, Osama El-Bakly.
The minister stressed that the Board of Directors’ visit, which is their first visit to Egypt, reflects the positive investment climate in Egypt and the country’s political and economic stability, according to the ministry’s press release.
El Molla pointed out that this project, which is considered the first Egyptian-Canadian project for methanol production in Egypt, is one of the projects that maximize the added value to 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 to attract investments and achieve the optimal economic use for Egypt’s natural gas resources.
He pointed out that Egypt’s transformation into a regional gas hub is an integral addition to attract international companies and take advantage of the investment opportunities.
During the meeting, Floren shared with the minister an update 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 enabling a wide array of industries dependent upon methanol including construction products, plastics, and formaldehyde.
“We are proud of Methanex’ partnership with the Egyptian petroleum sector companies ECHEM, EGAS, and [the Egyptian Natural Gas Company] Gasco. The oil and gas industry is one of the key pillars of Egypt’s economy and future. Through working closely with our partners within the Ministry of Petroleum, we are proud to support the government’s vision of maximizing the value of the country’s oil and gas resources, through providing vital feedstock to a number of petrochemicals industries that further contribute to Egypt’s economic growth,” said Mohamed Shindy.
In 2018, the company had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Suez for Methanol Derivatives (SMD) to enable discussions for the future cooperation between the two companies, whereby Methanex Egypt would supply SMD with methanol feedstock and utilities for the production of formaldehyde products. Shindy updated the minister on the progress of this project to date.
As part of the company’s support to the Egyptian Petrochemical industry, Methanex, in partnership with ECHEM and under the auspices of the Ministry of Petroleum, has held two Process Safety Management (PSM) conferences in 2018 and 2019 to start a dialogue about this critical topic within Egypt’s petrochemical and downstream industry. Through this platform, Methanex aims to share its own vision towards safer processes, assets, and operations and empower a broader group of the industry’s leaders to drive continuous improvement in the sector’s process safety and create a solid PSM commitment and culture within the different sector companies.
Shindy also briefed the minister on the company’s social investment program in Damietta, which aligns with the company’s belief in its role to add value to the areas in which it operates. 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 decision to embark on this one-of-a-kind partnership will enable Methanex Egypt to support Egypt’s Vision 2030 and the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals 2030. In June 2019, Methanex Egypt received the International Council for Small Business (ICSB) Humane Entrepreneurship Award at the UN headquarters in New York for the company’s contributions to the enrichment of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) culture in Damietta.
It is worth mentioning that Methanex Egypt 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 the Egyptian government partners: ECHEM, which holds 12%; EGAS, which holds 12%; GASCO, which holds 9%; and the Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP), which holds 17%.
Moreover, Methanex Egypt’s state-of-the-art methanol production facility is located in Damietta, Egypt on the Mediterranean Sea and is among the most energy efficient methanol plants in the world.