** The gas pipeline between Israel, Cyprus and Greece “in the knowledge of the unseen” and may be a political maneuver with Egypt
** EastMed is not a substitute for export through Egypt, but it is diversified
** Osama Kamal: I confronted the Brotherhood’s attempt to “compliment” Turkey to take advantage of the Mediterranean gas
** Turkey’s ambitions in the Mediterranean are old and its agreement with Libya has no effect on Egypt
** Import gas from Israel for re-export, and Egypt is currently exporting to Jordan
** The conflict in the Middle East aims to secure Israel and the West’s energy needs
** The energy-price reform process “Without Bing” is over and the people have confidence in Sisi
** Egypt has promising opportunities to make great discoveries in the Mediterranean and Red Bahrain
** I am not with the export of raw material such as gas, and the added value must be maximized
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In the recent period, eyes are drawing strongly on the increasing gas discoveries in the eastern Mediterranean, which some see as a torch to a struggle for wealth that changed the map of the region on the economic and political levels.
The large gas discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean, which have emerged in recent years, have increased the importance of the region, and sparked competition between the eastern Mediterranean countries, which each wants to reserve for themselves a share of the gas cake.
Mediterranean gas is not only important for its producing countries, but it is also important for its largest receiving market, namely Europe, which seeks American support, to diversify its energy sources, and limit Russias control of European gas imports, which alone account for nearly half of them.
In the midst of this burning conflict, Egypt emerged as a shining star in the sky of the Mediterranean, after the discovery of the giant giant back field, in 2015, which has already entered production in record time, for Egypt to assume its position as a major player in the gas market in the region.
In this dialogue with one of Egypt’s important experts in the oil sector, Eng. Osama Kamal, former Minister of Petroleum, we talk about Egypt’s dream of becoming a regional energy center, especially after he officially started pumping Israeli gas to Egypt, starting today, Wednesday, and the fate of this dream after The announcement of the “East Mid” line between Israel, Cyprus and Greece, to export gas to Europe, and the alleged agreement between Turkey and Libya to demarcate the sea border.
And to the text of the dialogue:
** Does the EastMed gas pipeline between Israel, Cyprus and Greece threaten Egypt’s plan to transform into a regional energy center?
The new line does not affect Egypt at all, and it is not an alternative, but it is considered as alternative and natural plans, all countries implement them, so that their dependence is not on one line, and that its purpose may be a political maneuver, in order to improve the conditions for negotiations with Egypt when agreeing to export gas via Two liquefaction stations in Edko and Damietta. This line was not announced suddenly, but Egypt is aware of it, and we must be open to the fact that all countries seek to secure themselves with alternative backup plans, this matter applies to Egypt, for example, in securing its needs of petroleum materials from more than one place, and they have backup contracts, so Countries, as well as individuals, are thinking. Some of us in our home use a gas heater and another that works with electricity, as a precaution, if one stops and the other works. Also, this new streak is still aware of the unseen and in front of him many challenges, and it may stop and not implement. Also, Europe’s needs in the summer are decreasing, so where will this gas go? .. It will be liquidated in Egypt and exported to other countries by ship.
** Do you mean that Israel can export gas via Egypt or the new pipeline without any conflict between them?
There is no richness for one line on the other line, or an alternative to one line for the other, all of which are alternative plans, in order to ensure the continued flow of gas, and to achieve revenues from selling gas. Israel has discovered gas from years, and it has not produced it, because there is no path to export it. Naturally, the gas producing countries are considering that they have more than one alternative for export .. so what if the Egyptian line stops for any reason .. does export stop? .. And this matter is not new. For example, there are four new lines that will be implemented to transfer gas to Europe, unlike the last Russian-Turkish line, “Turkish Torrent.” Why did we not say that these lines may be an alternative to Egypt? .. They are all alternative plans to transport gas. I do not see that there is any harm to Egypt from the implementation of the East Med line. The truth is that the important thing is to know well your position and to be a student and understand your steps and goals .. which is what I think Egypt is doing, and that President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi is “very focused and knowledgeable who wants to implement it and implement it without noise.”
** This means that you believe that the export of liquefied gas through Egypt will still matter despite the implementation of the “East Med” pipeline?
It is true that the pipeline is cheaper in the transportation process, where the fees are, for example, 17 or 20 cents, which means that the price of gas will be in the range of $ 5 per million thermal units, while liquefied gas can be up to 8 or 10 dollars, but the line also has defects, It is that it targets the delivery of gas to a specific place, the European market as is the case in the East Mid line, but in the event of a decrease in demand in this market during the summer period, for example, or a decline in gas consumption with the trend of European countries to switch to new and renewable energies, where will the gas go ?? Also there are other markets in the world that need liquefied gas … like Japan … so how will we export them? Going through the Egyptian liquefaction stations will be very important .. It gives Egypt a great comparative advantage in the region, especially as it is the only one that has liquefaction stations and strong infrastructure in the Mediterranean, Red Sea and Sumed Line.
** Does this conversation apply to the expected gas pipeline between Egypt and the Aphrodite Cypriot field?
Certainly … it is the same idea, that there will be a variety of alternatives for exporting gas to Europe, and the EastMed line will not replace this agreed-upon line between Egypt and Cyprus to import gas from the Aphrodite field to be liquified and re-exported.
** Do you agree with the doubts regarding the implementation of the “East Med” line because of the long distance and the difficulty of its implementation in the depths of the Mediterranean as well as funding?
I do not see that there is difficulty in implementing the line, because modern technology has facilitated work in the deep sea, but the cost will be high, and these also have economic solutions such as obtaining soft loans at cheap interest rates for a long time. As for financing, I also do not see it as a big problem, we are talking about 6 or 7 billion dollars, and the countries of the European Union and America can provide it easily, because sometimes the alternative plan is necessary no matter how much it costs, and this line may be important to Europe and America as an alternative line that guarantees the provision of gas From a variety of sources … However, the line is still “in the knowledge of the unseen” .. Until its implementation, Egypt will be the fastest and best path for exporting East Mediterranean gas to Europe.
** Do the quantities of gas discovered in the Eastern Mediterranean allow large spending on this new pipeline?
Europe’s annual consumption reaches 600 billion cubic meters, you get 200 billion of them, from Russia via the Ukrainian line, and about 50 billion cubic meters from Algeria, and the rest is imported from other countries such as America, Mozambique, Guinea, Qatar, and others .. In the case of importing Eastern Mediterranean gas The quantities that can be obtained from Egypt, Israel and Cyprus combined do not exceed 10 billion cubic meters per year, and therefore they are not quantities that significantly affect, and Russian gas will remain the cheapest for Europe, but this new line for them is an alternative to obtaining energy Near them, as there are still promising discoveries in Mediterranean Sea, could benefit from Europe in the future.
** Will the agreement between Turkey and Libya on the demarcation of the borders affect Egypt and its plans in the Mediterranean?
Turkey has clear and stated ambitions, and it is not new, but it is old, just as the Turkish president sees himself as an Ottoman successor and threatens the region with his ambitions, and of course Turkey is unhappy with the emergence of gas in most of the eastern Mediterranean countries, without benefiting, especially as it imports most of its gas needs, so it wants That a conflict take place in the Mediterranean, until it secured a seat between the gas producers in the eastern Mediterranean, and for this reason she signed this alleged agreement with the winner of Al-Sarraj, ignoring that she had no borders with Libya, so the demarcation of the borders has established and recognized principles and rules in the United Nations, and I do not think This agreement will have any impact on Egypt and its plans Gas exploration in the Mediterranean.
And I tell you that these Turkish ambitions, we previously confronted them in Egypt, when I was Minister of Petroleum at the time of the Brotherhood’s rule, in 2012, and I stood before these attempts and confronted them and paid for them individually, after a major attack in the newspapers and parliament, and criticizing me that I quit my job In oil and I interfere in the file of national security, where some raised doubts about the Egyptian maritime borders, and the claim that there are countries stealing Egyptian gas from the Mediterranean Sea, in the negligence of the state, and we already held a meeting in 2012, in which those suspicions, Brotherhood leaders and deputies were gathered in Parliament, along with representatives of 11 official government agencies appointed to this matter, is to be dispersed D. This claim is scientifically, and indeed we concluded at the end of this meeting that these allegations are false, and that our maritime borders are safe, and no one can attack our wealth from gas, which are the allegations that threatened the tender raised by Egypt in the Dhahr field, and was postponed more than once due to These allegations, which were aimed at complimenting Turkey at the expense of Egypt by redrawing the borders again, in favor of Turkey, in order to benefit from the gas that began to appear in the eastern Mediterranean.
** How do you see the ongoing conflict in the Middle East and to what extent is it linked to energy sources?
We must be aware that the epicenter of the current conflict in the world has become present in the Middle East for two main reasons, namely securing the West’s energy needs, because this region has more than two-thirds of the world’s reserves of fuel, and the other reason is securing Israel, and this is a priority for America and the West, and these two reasons Currently, they are two sides of the same coin in the current conflict in the region, which may easily end if the so-called “deal of the century” is passed .. and it is an impossible deal, so whoever has the ability of decision-makers in the countries concerned with the file of the Arab-Israeli conflict to deal with his land, This is unacceptable, so I expect this to not end The conflict soon.
** Does Egypt’s transformation into a regional energy hub means importing gas from the Eastern Mediterranean for re-export?
This is a narrow concept of transformation to a regional source of energy, but what is meant is that Egypt has a real energy activity and maximizing the added value of this energy, and this goes far beyond that we collect gas from the Eastern Mediterranean countries in order to liquefy and re-export it, although this is important and represents an added value Through operating Egyptian liquefaction stations, but our goal must be greater, which is to obtain all these quantities of gas and convert them to added value, export final products, and not only import raw materials from neighboring countries and re-export them only.
For example, the State of Iraq produces about 3 or 3.5 million barrels of oil per day, and it currently does not have sound refineries, and therefore a portion of this crude can be imported and refined in our Egyptian factories, and re-exported to Iraq in the form of petroleum products, and Egypt gets products in exchange for refining this crude. This would achieve mutual benefit and reduce the import bill for Egypt and Iraq.
Obviously, I am against the export of raw materials from the country without added value, and I said that during and after my presence in the ministry. Egypt must benefit from these raw materials and expand the petrochemical industry.
In order to transform into a regional energy center, it is absolutely necessary that we work to reduce Egypt’s consumption of petroleum materials, in order to benefit from them in manufacturing and export, instead of burning them in power plants that depend 93% on oil and gas, as well as cars.
Indeed, there is a trend by the state to expand electric cars, and there are also studies being conducted to reduce the uses of oil and gas in power stations and replace them with solar energy through what is known as solar concentrators, and this is necessary because there is a risk of relying on a single source in a large way to generate electricity, and we remember how This led to blackouts after Egypt’s gas production declined after the January revolution as a result of the failure to operate new wells.
** Is Egypt expected to witness major discoveries similar to Dhuhr in the coming period?
It is very possible to see great discoveries, such as Zohr, and there is technological progress in search and exploration, and the entry of new layers under the sea, we had not reached before, as the Zohr field, for example, is located 5 thousand meters below the sea, and there Companies are currently working on research in the Mediterranean, and all reports and studies say that there are huge reserves in the Mediterranean that have not been discovered so far .. As we work in the Red Sea for the first time, there are promising possibilities especially that our neighbors in Saudi Arabia on the other side have discovered promising wells .. This is given that we in Egypt did not work in exploration and research operations except in 1% of the m areas Grate by land and sea, and what has been produced in these discovered areas does not exceed 30%.
** Egypt started importing gas from Israel amid question marks about the reasons for this step, while Egypt achieved self-sufficiency in gas?
Whoever says that Egypt imports gas from Israel, this statement is not true, because the quantities that have been contracted between companies from the private sector will be received in Egypt in order to re-export them, after liquidating them in Egyptian liquefaction stations, and because this gas will pass through the owned national network To the state, the state had to monitor and follow up on this agreement … and “there is no need for its name to be imported from Israel … people revolving in its interest.”
It is simply a common interest between the party producing in Israel, foreign partners, and the Egyptian state. Israel has discovered large quantities of gas and is unable to drain it, and wants to export it, and there is currently no way for it, except for the gas line from which gas was imported from Egypt. The line has been repaired and modified to allow the passage of gas in both directions, so that Israeli gas is pumped into the line, to be liquidated in Egypt and exporting it to Israel, and Egypt in return gets fees for gas transit and liquefaction, and if it needs quantities from it in the future, you get it at a cheap price instead of importing liquefied gas at twice the price .. “I mean I import gas from a far place for $ 8 and I don’t import it from my side For 3 or 4 dollars .. Is this a legal or juristic matter we say is halal and free , This is purely economic, if you need gas in Egypt we buy because we currently have sufficient quantities and export to Jordan and also quantities of liquefied gas. “
** Do you expect significant increases in the price of gasoline in Egypt, especially with the world’s tensions and its impact on oil?
I expect that the oil prices in the world will continue at their borders at the present time around the level of $ 60 a barrel, and the producing world will strive to maintain this level and compensate for any shortage in supply, as happened after the ban on Iranian oil exports, because increasing it too much above this level increases inflation and hurts The economy, and if a lot says it hurts the producers and limits the searches and exploration .. In Egypt, I do not expect large increases in the prices of petroleum products, because the difficult process of reforms that took place “without anesthesia” ended, which was inevitable and inevitable, after we missed the opportunity for decades in Gradually reforming the price structure … the po tube Passed remained 30 years at the price of 2.5 pounds, from 1982 until 2012, when Rfnha to 5 pounds .. The current system handles distortions lasted 30 years and more, so treatment was difficult, and the fact that bear the people’s trust in President Sisi and his vision to save the country. In my estimation, the lack of successive regimes approaching the reform of the fuel price structure is a “mutual bribe between the government and the people”, as it leaves them with cheap fuel prices, while leaving the state’s facilities collapsing from health, education, transportation, and increasing diseases, poverty, and illegal immigration .. Suffice it to say that What was spent on subsidies in ten years from 2009 to 2019, amounting to one trillion and 300 billion pounds, they were the first to develop education, health and facilities that collapsed.
As for prices, there is a committee for automatic pricing, the prices decline and they have a maximum increase that does not exceed 10%, if there is an increase, and the two times that I reviewed the prices, I reduced the price once and fixed it again.
And Egypt currently has hedging contracts to limit the impact of the increase in world oil prices, so that insurance bears any increase over the estimates for oil in the budget.