President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi during the Hikayat Watan conference. Al-Ahram.
El-Sisi further explained that while additional natural gas supplies are required to eliminate power interruptions, the government opted to export the gas to ensure the availability of diesel and fuel.
With temperatures rising and natural gas production declining, the Egyptian government implemented a power cut plan in July.
"The Ministry of Electricity sells electricity for less than its production cost, with 17 million citizens still paying just a quarter of the real cost for electricity", El-Sisi stressed.
In August, and notwithstanding the ongoing challenges, the government decided to freeze any increase in electricity sale prices till January 2024, owing to the present economic circumstances.
Electricity consumers in Egypt pay $0.032 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). US and European consumers, on the other hand, pay $0.23 and $0.30 per kWh, indicating that electricity tariffs in Egypt are significantly lower than those in the US and the EU.
The president also noted that the government is providing power plants with natural gas at reduced prices.
Egypt supplies natural gas to electricity plants at $3 per million British thermal units (MMBtu).
Meanwhile, according to Bloomberg, global natural gas prices remain at approximately $2.93 per MMBtu.
A Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources report stated earlier that gas production in the massive offshore Zohr field decreased by 11 percent during the fiscal year 2022/2023.
Returning to the issue of power cuts, El-Sisi highlighted that Egypt's natural gas reserves lasted two months instead of 8 days due to the decrease in consumption brought about by the power cuts.
Egypt faces a $17 billion financing gap, forcing the country to take measures to secure hard currency, including increasing gas exports.
The country seeks to bring in $191 billion in annual revenues by 2026, up from the current $70 billion.
The three-day Hikayat Watan conference is held in the New Administrative Capital's Masa Hall to showcase Egypt’s achievements in various fields.
It is attended by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, several ministers, politicians, youth representatives, journalists, and members of different segments of society.