UAE-Egypt ties to scale new heights

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UAE-Egypt ties to scale new heights
A yacht sails through a section of the New Suez Canal in Egypt. The UAE's National Marine Dredging Company won a joint tender to dredge around 60 per cent of the entire project.

Dubai - UAE is a distinguished model in diversifying sources of income, says minister.

By Ahmed Mokhtar

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Published: Tue 18 Aug 2015, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Sat 22 Aug 2015, 1:58 PM

Egyptian Minister of Petroleum Sherif Ismail said that the UAE has successfully diversified its sources of national income despite being a member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec).
Despite possessing large reserves of oil, the UAE has a varied investment portfolio that doesn't only depend on oil and natural gas.
"As an Egyptian citizen and official, I strongly support the the UAE's successful model which depends on qualified national cadres," Ismail said in an interview.
He said the UAE's economic support to Egypt, which has intensified following the 30th of June revolution, was mainly directed to the petroleum sector through a $2.9 billion grant and official cooperation worth $3 billion between the Egyptian ministry of petroleum and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc).
The Egyptian minister said the next phase of cooperation between the two countries will reach even higher levels in the fields of direct investment, as the UAE's minister of state Dr Sultan Al Jaber will take over coordination of projects that Egypt plans to implement in the fields of oil refining and mineral resources.
"There are no special plans for new UAE grants to Egypt's oil sector," he added.
He also pointed out that Egypt has signed 65 agreements, including 13 modified ones, to search for oil and natural gas at an investment value of about $12 billion.
"Another 19 agreements will be signed before the end of 2015, in addition to introducing 11 new areas for Arab and foreign companies to search for and produce minerals," he said.
As for paying dues to international oil companies, which have currently reached $3.5 billion, the minister said that President Abdul Fattah Al Sisi has decided to give priority to payment obligations, starting by more than $500 million to be repaid next month.
Additionally, he said that the Egyptian government is studying alternatives aimed at increasing the petroleum sector's foreign currency earnings, such as putting some of the petroleum companies' shares on the stock exchange as well as marketing petroleum products, all to be ready by the end of 2015.
Regarding the energy crisis that Egypt has been experiencing lately, Ismail said there are two solutions his ministry has opted for.
"Increasing production and rationalising consumption are the only effective ways to solve the problem," he said.
Increasing oil and gas production has already started with a number of projects being implemented to search for natural gas at a cost of $11.7 billion and are expected to add about 7.5 trillion cubic feet to Egypt's natural gas reserves, to be installed gradually on the production network.
As for rationalising energy consumption, Ismail said a national awareness campaign has been launched to make people realise how important it is to decrease energy consumption in order to gradually have a sustainable effect on easing pressure on energy demand.
He also said that oil and natural gas constitute about 96 per cent of Egypt's energy sector and 91 per cent of the electricity sector, which is "a great risk to national security".
Ismail added that his ministry is currently coordinating with the Ministry of Electricity and Energy to increase dependence on renewable energy sources.
"We have also struck deals to import liquefied natural gas to narrow the gap between production and consumption," the Egptian minister said, adding that about 500 million cubic of liquefied gas feet are currently reaching Egypt's ports, and expected to reach one billion cubic feet by October 2015.
Nonetheless, Egypt's production of oil and condensates currently stands at approximately 700,000 barrels per day, while natural gas production is 4.5 billion cubic feet, with a reserve estimated to be around 67 trillion cubic feet. Infrastructure projects are also being carried out in refining labs and transportation at an investment worth of $410 million.
The writer is the managing editor of Al Ahram Al Massai.

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