Egypt will allow foreign companies to “freely” export natural gas not needed for domestic use in five years, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla announced on Monday during Al Ahram’s energy conference, according to Reuters.
New exploration contracts contains a clause that allows companies to export a part of their share of extracted gas abroad in the event it is not needed by Egypt, El Molla told a news conference. The move, which comes as part of Egypt’s strategy to become a regional hub for exporting gas next year, comes after the Zohr gas field began production on Saturday, raising Egypt’s production to 5.5 bcf/d by next year.
El Molla also said that the government was looking to buy “the foreign partner’s stake” in Zohr, Al Masry Al Youm reports. He was not clear if the state was looking at all or part of Eni’s stake alone, or whether he was referring to Rosneft and BP.
The executive regulations for the new Natural Gas Act are expected to come out in the coming weeks, El Molla reportedly said. The new deadline delays the coming of the law — which allows the private sector to import and distribute natural gas and sees the state reduce its role to that of a market regulator. El Molla had said the regs would be out this month.