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Egypt to reach gas efficiency within 5 years: Oil minister

Increased domestic production and two import deals - one with Algeria, another with Russia - should cover the short term, says ministry

Ahram Online, Thursday 26 Jun 2014
Sherif Ismail
Sherif Ismail minister of petroleum (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Egypt will achieve gas self-sufficiency within five years, but imports are necessary for the current time to meet the domestic demands, said the state's petroleum minister on Thursday.

During his visit to one of Egypt's gas fields, Sherif Ismail said the country will not face any future gas shortages thanks to imports and domestic production that will be raised by 500 million cubic feet per day in December 2014.

In May, the ministry forecasted total natural gas production to increase 1.7 percent to reach 5.4 billion cubic feet per day in the coming fiscal year (FY) 2014/15 which starts in July, as compared to the current fiscal year.

"We (the government) have agreed with Algeria and Russian GazProm to import five and 12 shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG) respectively," Hamdi Abdel-Aziz, spokesperson of the petroleum ministry, told Ahram Online.

According to the daily newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm, the government will buy the Algerian LNG at $6 per million thermal unit, with $12 per million thermal unit to Russia.

However, Abdel-Aziz said that the price hasn't been set.

"It will be determined once the delegations from both Algerian and Russian companies arrive in Egypt to complete the deal," he said.

Meanwhile, Egypt will pay $1.5 billion of the money it owes to foreign energy companies by the end of 2014, its oil minister said on Thursday, as the government aims to lure back wary investors to tap its reserves and boost production to meet soaring demand.

The government has pledged to repay $3 billion of the more than $6 billion it owes to companies including BG Group and BP by 2017 to encourage companies to increase exploration and production.

Egypt paid back $1.5 billion at the end of last year, a signal that the government is trying to get firms investing again in extraction and exploration, badly needed to help address a severe energy crunch.

For electricity needs, Abdel-Aziz clarified that the ministry provides power stations nationwide with around 80 million cubic metres of natural gas, 26,000 tonnes of the low-quality fuel mazut and 1,500 tonnes of diesel per day in an attempt to avoid ongoing regular blackouts.

For its part, the state's finance ministry said on Thursday it has transferred all financial dues worth LE13.3 billion, which were allocated for the petroleum sector in the current state budget 2013/14 – which ends in June – to meet the electricity fuel demands. 


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