The Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources is aiming to complete the law to establish a regulatory authority for the natural gas market, said minister Tarek El Molla. The law has been presented to the State Council and is expected to be completed before the end of 2017.
“By the end of 2017, we will have the law and the executive regulations ready, and we will have completed the establishment of the authority to allow private companies to import gas,” El Molla said during an economic conference in Cairo held on Tuesday.
The ministry has provided about eight companies to be offered in the Egyptian Exchange (EGX) during the upcoming period. The assessment of these companies will be announced in November.
El Molla noted that the dues of foreign partners reached $3.6bn in September.
The petroleum sector has signed about 70 petroleum agreements over the past period after agreeing with foreign partners on changing the prices of natural gas in the agreements, which attracted new investments, according to El Molla.
He pointed out that the ministry aims for the local market to achieve self-sufficiency of natural gas in the fiscal year (FY) of 2020/2021. Several new petroleum projects are expected to enhance production.
El Molla explained that Italian company Eni aims to connect about 1bn cubic feet of gas to the national grid by the end of 2017 or during the first quarter of 2018. The production rate of the project will gradually reach 2.7bn cubic feet by 2020.
The first phase in the development of the North Alexandria and West Mediterranean fields will begin operating in the third quarter of 2017 to produce 450m cubic feet of gas per day.
The rest of the project’s phases will be completed in the second quarter of 2019. Total production is expected to reach 1.3bn cubic feet of gas per day. The North Alexandria project is affiliated to the alliance of British company BP and German DEA, with the Petroleum Authority and the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS).
Sahar El Damati, deputy managing director in Emirates NBD–Egypt, said that 30 local banks have lent the petroleum sector nearly EGP 73bn, and EGP 43bn to the electricity sector.
During the conference, El Damati added that banks are willing to finance electricity and petroleum projects, explaining that foreign banks finance these two sectors with a financial guarantee from the government—a good example being Germany. El Damati suggested the securitisation of the fields’ sales for two years in order to bring in foreign currency to the state.
Since July, the Petroleum Ministry has obtained $40m in profits from Sukari gold mine. It also obtained $80m in royalties, according to El Molla. He added that the Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority (EMRA) will launch an international tender for gold research and exploration in December.