With gas production in full swing across a number of sites in Egypt, the country is ready to become a key exporter of energy in the region and beyond, the chairman and founder of investment firm Qalaa Holdings said.
“In the oil and gas sectors Egypt remains a very important player,” Ahmed Heikal, noted.
Heikal said there was impetus for Egyptian gas to flow to European markets via terminals in Idku and Damietta.
“Gas discoveries and infrastructure, as far as the LNG (liquefied natural gas) terminals in Idku and Damietta, those two have meant that Egypt is ready to perform a very important role as a hub for energy, especially gas exports,” he said.
Egypt is looking to raise US$10 billion in foreign investments for the oil and gas sector for 2018-2019, according to Reuters, a 25 percent increase on the year before.
It also wants to raise its gas production from new fields, including the giant Zohr gas field that was discovered in 2015 by Italian energy group Eni.
The discovery has been a boon to the Egyptian economy as it means the country will be able to meet domestic demand and shouldn’t have to buy in foreign supplies.
In fact, Egypt hopes to stop importing foreign oil and gas entirely by 2019, according to Reuters.
Qalaa Holdings, a Middle Eastern investment firm, is involved in the domestic energy industry with its subsidiary, the Egyptian Refining Company (ERC), having developed a US$4.2 billion Greenfield refinery in greater Cairo.
The refinery will have a “4.2 million tons capacity that will produce up to 3 million tons of Euro V diesel and jet fuel, enabling Egypt to reduce its current level of diesel imports by 50 percent,” Qalaa notes on its website. It also has a subsidiary, TAQA Arabia, related to private sector energy distribution.
Giving an update on the project, Heikal said it would be operating in the fall.
“The ERC project is proceeding at a very fast pace, we’ve started testing the motors, the insulation and painting and I think by August we will have finished totally with construction. And we will introduce hydrocarbon into the refinery by early November,” he said, adding that the project was” a very big endeavor for a private sector company to undertake.”