Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah EL-Sisi speaking during the opening of investor service center
Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah said on Tuesday that the dream to turn Egypt into a regional energy hub is becoming a reality, referring to a number of gas deals recently signed in the country.
The president made the comments while opening a number of investor service centres across the country.
El-Sisi commented on the controversial $15 billion gas deal brokered between two Israeli companies and private Egyptian company Dolphinus, saying that Egypt has "nothing to hide about this deal."
"Egypt is now one of the few countries in the Mediterranean region that owns facilities fully capable of providing all oil-related services," El-Sisi said, adding that Egypt will use these facilities to liquefy the imported gas for later export or for use in industry.
El-Sisi said that Egypt has developed these facilities before other countries in the region like in Lebanon, Israel, Cyprus and Turkey, which will allow Egypt to benefit by having oil from Mediterranean countries liquefied in Egypt.
"We had to take advantage of this opportunity to attract Cypriot, Lebanese and Israeli gas in preparation for liquefaction and export," he said.
"We scored a goal," El-Sisi said in Egyptian colloquial slang, referring to the recent gas deals and other achievements in the gas sector, though he stressed that these agreements are reached by the private sector and not the state.
On Monday, two Israeli companies –Tamar and Leviathan – signed the deal with the Egyptian private company Dolphinus to sell gas to Egypt worth $15 billion.
The two Israeli companies will export as much as 64 billion cubic metres of natural gas to Egypt over 10 years.
"Egypt will benefit financially from this process on a very large scale, now all the gas in the region is coming to us to be exported," El-Sisi said, adding that he is "happy" with the interest Egyptians have shown over the past few days over the gas situation in the country.
El-Sisi affirmed that Egypt has taken another step towards becoming a regional energy hub, which will have "many benefits."
"I know people may ask how is it that we have just inaugurated the Zohr gas field to achieve self-sufficiency, but we are still exporting gas from other countries, but I assure you we are doing this according to market mechanisms," El-Sisi said, referring to the super-giant Zohr gas field in the Mediterranean, which Egypt hopes will help it achieve its goal of self-sufficiency in the supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Production from the field is expected to increase to 1 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) by June 2018, marking the end of the first production stage and granting Egypt self-sufficiency in LNG supply.
The second stage of production from the field is due to be finalised by the end of 2019 when production reaches 2.7 bcfd.
The Zohr, North Alexandria and Noras fields are expected to increase Egypt's natural gas output by 50 percent in 2018 and 100 percent in 2020, the Ministry of Petroleum said in October.
The country passed a new natural gas law last year that allows for competition in the market by granting licenses to import gas for private companies.