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The Ministry of International Cooperation Holds a Multi-Stakeholder Platform for the Petroleum Sector

H.E. Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Eng. Tarek El Molla: “The oil and gas sector development strategy has led to the signing of 98 international agreements with a minimum investment of $16 billion.”

The Ministry of International Cooperation held a multi-stakeholder platform (MSP) titled “Egypt as an Energy Hub: Reforms and Prospects in the Petroleum and Gas Sector” in the presence of H.E. Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Eng. Tarek El Molla, and officials from major foriegn and private companies operating in Egypt, including Apache Egypt, TAQA Arabia, Schlumberger, and SAP. This is in addition to multilateral and bilateral development partners such as the World Bank Group (WBG), International Finance Corporation (IFC), the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the Germany Embassy among others. This comes as part of a series of interactive meetings organized by the Ministry of International Cooperation within the framework of the MSP. The platform aims to create interaction and integration between government entities, multilateral and bilateral development partners, private sector, and civil society to implement Egypt’s 2030 Vision. The meetings also shed light on the reforms that have been put into place over the past years, alongside the enhancement of cooperation with the private sector, and discussions on financing opportunities within the framework of the Government of Egypt’s priorities. During the meeting, Minister of International Cooperation H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat affirmed that the MSP aims to shed light on the economic sectors that have undergone radical reforms over the past years; which has contributed to enhanced economic development and opened new horizons for private sector participation. As reiterated previously by Al-Mashat, 2021 is the year for private sector engagement in development efforts. The Minister pointed out that the petroleum sector is one of the most critical sectors, as the Government of Egypt announced its intention to transform the country into a regional energy center that would further enhance its leadership across many fields. Al-Mashat added that through the MSP and in partnership with the relevant government entities, the Ministry of International Cooperation promotes the reforms that have been implemented, the flagship projects that are in progress, and the successful projects that have been implemented; showcasing the achievements of the past years aids in providing opportunities for international partnerships and development efforts. She added that, “the Ministry aims to achieve this through several steps, namely exploring opportunities for cooperation in projects that the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources offers to international partners, highlighting areas that allow for private sector participation, identifying areas of participation in the short, medium and long term, and creating integration between various multilateral and bilateral development partners. Al-Mashat emphasized that although the petroleum sector acquired only 5% of the total ongoing development cooperation portfolio of the Ministry of International Cooperation, the story of development and reforms implemented over the years is a story that needs to be told. This is a story that reflects the commitment of the Government of Egypt in moving forward with development plants and reforms across sectors, despite the circumstances posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Minister added that several MSPs have been held for the transportation, public business, and health sectors, to strengthen international partnerships that go hand in hand with the country’s development agenda. In 2021, the first MSP held was centered around digitization and innovation, and in the coming period more meetings will be held catering to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The Petroleum Sector Continues to Implement the Development Vision H.E. Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Eng. Tarek El Molla expressed that the petroleum sector continues to implement its integrated vision for the development and modernization of oil, gas and mining sectors. The overall aim is to unlock the potential within the framework of the country’s 2030 vision for sustainable development, and increase investment as a result of the positive economic reform program implemented by the Government of Egypt. El Molla elaborated that Egypt’s petroleum modernization plan consists of 3 strategic pillars; Energy Security, Financial Sustainability, and Sector Governance. These pillars have contributed, and led to many successes such as signing 98 agreements with international companies that aim to drill for oil and gas worth $16 billion. The new strategy has lured in new international entities to work in the Egyptian petroleum sector, and this reflects confidence in the sector. He pointed out that this sector has progressed from 11% negative growth in 2015 to 25% positive growth in 2020. This came about via Egypt’s achievement of self-sufficiency in gas, and in providing a surplus for exporting; through the expansion of the liquefied natural gas process in Damietta and Edku situated on the Mediterranean Coast, and the establishment of the Gas Regulatory Authority to regulate activities of the gas market. This has allowed for the entry and participation of private companies in the Egyptian gas system, and in paying 80% of the dues of foreign companies operating in the country. El Molla indicated that the oil and gas sector amounted to 24% of the GDP in 2019/2020, and the sector’s total investments from 2014/2015 to 2019/2020 amounted to $74 billion. The Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources pointed out that 6 million more homes were added to the 11.8 million homes that have natural gas. He explained that the refining industry is witnessing the implementation of a plan to develop and modernize old refineries, and establish new refineries that comply with European standards and specifications. This has contributed to reducing gasoline and diesel imports by 35% and the overall goal is to achieve self-sufficiency in petroleum products by 2023. El Molla also reviewed the ongoing program for the development and modernization of the mining sector, which is based on several pillars includin