World Bank Backs Egypt To Become Regional Oil, Gas Trading Hub

04 Jul 2018

The World Bank supports Egypt’s efforts to be a regional oil and gas trading hub, as several new gas projects started up recently in the Mediterranean country, the Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum said on Monday.

World Bank Executive Director Merza Hasan is visiting Egypt and holding talks with Egypt’s Petroleum Minister Tarek El-Molla on cooperation between the World Bank and the oil and gas sector in Egypt.

The officials discussed oil and gas projects to which the World Bank is contributing and talked about boosting cooperation with the bank for new investment opportunities, Egyptian media report, quoting a statement by the petroleum ministry.

Following the start-up of the giant gas field Zohr, Egypt has become an important player in the Mediterranean. Zohr, discovered by Eni in 2015, plays a key role in helping Egypt to avoid the need to import liquefied natural gas (LNG), according to the Italian oil and gas major.

Last month, Egypt issued what is likely to be its last LNG import tender, and could begin exports early in 2019, El-Molla told Bloomberg. The June tender was for Egypt’s third-quarter gas needs, and it might not need to import LNG for the fourth quarter and onwards, the minister said.

“I don’t think there will be more tenders beyond this, I think this is it,” El-Molla told Bloomberg. “Local production should cover our needs.”

Related: How Important Are Egypt’s Gas Discoveries?

Thanks to recent field start-ups, Egypt is ready to become a key exporter of oil and gas in the region and beyond, Ahmed Heikal, chairman and founder of investment firm Qalaa Holdings, told CNBC in April.

“Gas discoveries and infrastructure, as far as the LNG (liquefied natural gas) terminals in Idku and Damietta, those two have meant that Egypt is ready to perform a very important role as a hub for energy, especially gas exports,” Heikal said.

In April, Egypt’s minister El-Molla said that his country was aiming to attract around US$10 billion in oil and gas investments in the 2018/2019 fiscal year that begins in July.

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