Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El Molla said on Saturday 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.
Egypt has been suffering from severe shortages in gas production due to growing consumption, forcing the private sector to import gas to secure the needs of factories.
At a press conference in South Sinai, El Molla said 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.
He added that the recently discovered Mediterranean gas field Zohr will begin production in a few years. “Egypt is to continue importing gas to provide for domestic needs before Zohr’s production is linked to the national grid,” he added.
Over the past few days, rumours have spread about an Egyptian company named Dolphinus Holdings signing an agreement to import gas from Israel’s offshore gas field Leviathan. However, Egyptian officials have not commented on the rumours so far.
When Daily News Egypt contacted Prime Minister Sherif Ismail seeking a response, he refused to comment.
“Communicate with the Minister of Petroleum for a comment,” he said.
El Molla stressed that the petroleum sector allows the private sector to import petroleum in order to secure its needs without burdening the government with expenses. This also helps fulfil the needs of a group of industries by making use of the petroleum-related infrastructure and the state’s facilities in exchange for an agreed tariff.
The infrastructure for imported liquid natural gas includes two gasification ships, storage installations and a national grid for distribution that extends to all parts of Egypt.
The Egyptian government seeks to turn Egypt into a strategic centre for natural gas trading in order to benefit from its geographic location and the strong infrastructure of the gas industry, according to El Molla. In this way, Egypt will contribute a large portion of the region’s needs, while achieving added value for the Egyptian economy, he said.
He said that the availability of gas for use by industry will support economic growth, attract more investment, provide jobs, support the regional economy, and strengthen Egypt’s role in light of the changes that the region is witnessing.