Industry leaders discussed Egypt’s upstream investment climate during the first strategic panel of the Egypt Oil & Gas (EOG) 2nd Upstream Operational Excellence Convention, on December 2.

Participants on the panel included First Undersecretary for Gas Affairs at the Ministry of Petroleum, Mohammed Moanes; Fabio Cavanna, general manager of IEOC; Gasser Hanter, vice president and managing director of Shell Egypt; Stuart Shaw, vice president of operations at BP Egypt; Karim Bedawi, managing director for Egypt and the Mediterranean at Schlumberger; and Martijn Murphy, Wood Mackenzie’s upstream research manager.

The panel was moderated by Thomas Maher, president and COO of Apex Energy and chairman of the EOG Technical Committee.

Murphy opened the session with an informative presentation focusing on the levels of private and public capital investment in Egypt over the past five years.

“There have been a lot of great things happening in Egypt as an investment destination,” Murphy said. He praised in particular the government’s progress to pay down arrears to international oil companies (IOCs). “I think that this has really given confidence to investors, to the smaller IOCs especially,” he said.

However, he affirmed the need for the government to continue reducing its involvement in oil and gas projects in order to maximize returns – especially from brownfield sites in the Gulf of Suez.

The discussion – featuring representatives of some of the biggest players in the Egyptian oil and gas sector – gave conference attendees their thoughts on the current upstream investment climate in Egypt, and provided insight into their future investment plans.

Each panelist praised Egypt’s recent production successes, and spoke optimistically about the prospects for future investment.

Cavanna stated Eni’s commitment to further investments in Egypt. “We will continue investing in Egypt, we strongly believe in the resources of the nation,” he said, adding that the company is looking forward to the upcoming bid rounds in the Red Sea and the Western Mediterranean.

Meanwhile, Shaw described Egypt as “an exciting and impressive place to work,” adding that he is “very excited” about the country’s future prospects.

Maher closed the session on an optimistic note. “I cannot think of a more exciting time to be in the industry. It is an excellent time to invest in Egypt, and I applaud all the initiatives taken by the government,” he said.


By Matthew Hoare