During a press conference in South Sinai, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Tarek El Molla, said that a new gas market regulation authority will be launched by the middle of 2016, concerned only with regulating the pricing of gas trading services and not the prices of gas itself, Daily News Egypt Reports.

El Molla added that requests to import gas do not indicate approval, as the requests will only be granted if security stipulations are met, if all international arbitration issues are resolved, and if the imports represent  added value to the national economy.

Egypt has been suffering from an energy crisis over the past few ears, importing significant quantities of LNG to meet the rising demand of power generation and factories. The gas regulatory authority is being launched to allow factories to import their own needs of gas, thus easing the burden on the government.

The recent Zohr discovery, while believed to close the supply gap, requires a couple of years before production comes online. “Egypt is to continue importing gas to provide for domestic needs before Zohr’s production is linked to the national grid,” he added.