Prime Minister Sherif Ismail has officially appointed Karem Mahmoud, as the Head of the Natural Gas Regulatory Authority, Al Ahram reported.

The Natural Gas Regulatory Authority was established by Law Number 196 for 2017 in August. The purpose of the authority is to monitor and regulate the transmission and distribution of natural gas by foreign players in the local market, according to official sources.

Management of the authority before and after the issuance of the gas regulation law was assigned to Amira El Mazni, the Vice Chairman of the Authority, who, reportedly, is retiring this month, Egypt Oil & Gas reports.

Mahmoud has been serving as the Chairman and Managing Director at the Egyptian Natural Gas Company (GASCO).

Ismail noted in his appointment announcement that Egypt will add a number of projects to operations before the end of 2017 and 2018, including the Zohr field project.

The Egyptian government is keen to preserve the gas importing infrastructure, Ismail stated, adding that the market is open for private sector firms that want to import natural gas.

The authority has received several application from the private sector this year for permits. Three firms have already obtained initial permits–TAQA Arabia, BB Energy, and Fleet Energy–and other companies are in the process of applying,  Egypt Oil & Gas reports.