Egypt intensifying efforts to become a regional energy hub: FM Shoukry in Macron dinner at UNGA

Ahram Online , Wednesday 21 Sep 2022

Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry said that the current situation in the world prompted Egypt to intensify its efforts to become a regional energy hub, with a focus on supplying natural gas and electrical power to neighbouring countries and boosting local investments in green hydrogen production.

Sameh Shoukry
File photo: of Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry


Shoukry’s statements came during a speech at a business dinner hosted by the French President Manuel macron on Tuesday on the sidelines of the 77th UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York to discuss a number of pressing economic issues amid global crises.

Speaking on behalf of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, Shoukry, who is the president designate of the upcoming COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh in November, reviewed Egypt’s plans to face the repercussions of the global food security and energy prices crises on the country and the region since the start of the Russian-Ukrainian war, foreign ministry spokesperson Ahmed Au Zeid said in a statement.

Energy to the region

Egypt is using its strategic position on Europe’s doorstep to become a major supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the continent as it transitions away from fossil fuels.

Egypt can also help Europe in overcoming an energy crisis that resulted from the halt in Russian gas imports after the start of Russian-Ukrainian war.

Global increases in energy and food prices have negatively affected economic development and the ability to carry out economic reforms in many developing countries, Shoukry affirmed.

Egypt’s recent achievements in producing considerable surpluses in electrical and natural gas production have allowed the country to play a major role in contributing to meeting energy needs on a regional level.

Egypt,  which has achieved an electricity surplus of more than 25 percent following mega projects that ended decades of chronic shortages, is implementing electricity linkage projects with African and European countries.

For example, Egypt is working with Cyprus and Greece on a project to connect their electrical grids.

It is also working with Greece to build a major subsea communications transmission cable to link North Africa to Europe.

The country has already linked its electrical grid with Sudan, Libya and Jordan, with a scheduled plan to establish more power linkages with other Arab and African countries, he said.

Natural gas and green hydrogen

Egypt has also achieved self-sufficiency in natural gas and has become a major exporter of this clean energy source following huge discoveries in the giant Zohr natural gas field in the Mediterranean, he noted.

This has allowed the country to intensify coordination with Middle East countries in the field of natural gas production, liquefaction and export, Shoukry explained.

Egypt is a member of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), along with France, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Palestine and Jordan.

The EMGF was established in 2020 to coordinate efforts among the eight member states to make joint use of natural gas discoveries in the eastern Mediterranean.

The Egyptian foreign minister said the countrty seeks to increase investments in renewable and clean energy sources to meet local needs and also supply green energy to neighbours.

Egypt has recently adopted a vision to be a global and regional hub for green hydrogen production, storage and export, he explained.

Last August, Egypt signed seven Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with local and international companies to establish industrial complexes to produce green hydrogen in Ain Sokhna Industrial Zone within the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZONE).

Food security

"The current conditions require international financial institutions, regional development banks, and development partners to play a key role in helping countries under the weight of economic and social stress via providing financing and debt relief," the Egyptian foreign minister said at the dinner.

He highlighted that the global food security crisis has harmed food-importing countries such as Egypt, calling on countries who produce food surpluses to remove restrictions on food exports.

Shoukry also called on developed countries to help developing ones both increase their food production and also invest in flexible and sustainable agro-systems to avert food crises in the future.

He urged developed nations to facilitate the transfer of technology in the field of agriculture to developing nations.

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