El-Sisi’s comments came as he inaugurated the fifth edition of the Egyptian Petroleum Show 2022 (EGYPS 2022), which will be running from 14 to 16 February under his patronage and the slogan ‘North Africa and the Mediterranean: Delivering Energy.’
This year’s edition of EGYPS — the largest oil, gas, and energy conference and exhibition in North Africa and the Mediterranean — is being attended by 11 ministers of petroleum and energy from several countries as well as national and international oil companies, government officials, business leaders, local and multinational corporations, and petroleum industry experts.
Those in attendance includes representatives from the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC), the International Energy Agency (IEA), the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), African Petroleum Producers’ Organisation (APPO), the World Energy Forum, and the Mediterranean Energy Observatory.
The president focused most of his comments to the EGYPS on - once again - championing the plight of Africa in transitioning to renewable energy sources and combatting the unequal burden of climate change on the continent.
“The cost of fulfilling renewable energy commitments to address climate change is substantial. African countries [cannot afford such a cost],” the president argued.
El-Sisi noted that Egypt, for example, implemented infrastructure ventures over the past seven years at a total cost of $400 billion.
“[But] do you think that Africa is ready to implement renewable energy commitments over the next 20 years?” the president asked the audience.
African countries have become the least developed in comparison to nations in other continents due to historical circumstances and the legacy of colonialism, and their resources should not be exploited again, the president asserted.
“African countries should not continue to pay the price of the repercussions of colonialism and the exploitation of its resources for many years,” the Egyptian president stressed.
Furthermore, the president added, Africa has also become the most limited continent in terms of income and poverty, noting that 50 percent of its population still lives without electricity.
African countries are not yet ready to attract renewable energy investments due to conflicts and instability, he argued.
“I hope you are following the state of instability and the escalation of terrorism and extremism in our continent. This is due to limited capabilities and, therefore, necessitates a longer transitional period,” he explained.
The president also said that Africa awaits “objective, balanced, and fair decisions” from the international community in the next UN Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP27), which will be hosted by Egypt in November 2022 in Sharm El-Sheikh.
Egypt has vowed to speak for Africa's aspirations on addressing climate change at the COP27.
At the end of his comment, El-Sisi invited former CNN Anchor John Defterious, the host of the first EGYPS's session, to tour Egypt and speak with the citizens to learn more about the situation on the ground.
Egypt: Discoveries and ambitions
Meanwhile, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El-Molla said during the inauguration that Egypt’s petroleum exports rose to $13 billion in 2021, achieving an oil trade balance surplus estimated at $2.9 billion for the first time ever.
In December, the Cabinet said that the country’s production of crude oil and natural gas rose by 8.4 percent Y-o-Y in 2021, up from 2020’s 82.4 million tonnes.
Egypt has made a series of massive oil and gas discoveries in recent years, most notably the giant Zohr gas field off the Mediterranean — the largest field of its kind in the region — which holds an estimated reservoir of 30 trillion cubic feet of gas.
These gas discoveries have helped Egypt reach self-sufficiency in natural gas in 2018, helping the country pursue the goal of becoming a regional hub for gas exports.
Egypt also plans to use its proximity to Europe to become a major supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the continent — which is transitioning away from other fossil fuels — through its Idku and Damietta LNG plants.
El-Molla also clarified that natural gas will be delivered to 13.5 million housing units by June, adding that up to 420,000 cars have been converted to run on gas, and 600 natural gas stations have been established nationwide so far.
He added that work is underway to establish 400 more stations soon.
Egypt has the infrastructure for the transport and handling of LNQ, with a main network of 7,000km of pipelines as well as a distribution network of 31,000km and 29 gas-treatment plants in addition to the two LNG plants.
The country has been using its augmented natural gas resources to push its ambitious plans for green transformation.