The law regulating natural gas market has assigned the right of issuing licenses to companies operating in the local market that want to import natural gas to the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) instead of the Gas Regulatory Authority.
A source in the petroleum sector told Daily News Egypt that private sector companies have retreated from importing gas after the increase of local production to 6.8bn cubic feet of gas per day and achieving surplus.
He added that the state has started expanding in gas export to Jordan through liquefaction vessels with plans to turn Egypt into a gas trading hub for neighbouring countries in the Mediterranean Sea.
The source pointed out that EGAS has initially approved to grant BB Energy, Taqa Arabia, and Fleet Energy licenses to import natural gas and supply the local market until the companies provide the required documents.
He said that the three companies have not yet informed EGAS of the targeted amount of gas imports and their clients in the local market.
The source noted that this initial approval to import natural gas shall be renewed every six months, however the applying companies have not taken any actual steps to obtain the final licenses.
Private sector companies which have obtained the initial approvals were Fleet Energy, headed by Essam El-Kafafy and headquartered in Panama, BB Energy, owned by a Lebanese family and headquartered in London, and Taqa Arabia, owned by Gulf funding institutions in partnership with Egyptian Qalaa Holdings.
Recently, EGAS has obtained two licenses to practice the activity of shipping and supply of natural gas to the domestic market from the Gas Regulatory Authority.
The ministry of petroleum has estimated the maximum actual gas needs of the local market to be 7bn scf/day over the upcoming fiscal year.