East Med states reiterate need for cooperation during EMGF gas forum
East Mediterranean states agree they need to step up on developing the regional gas market and incentivize the private sector: Energy ministers from Eastern Mediterranean states vowed to increase cooperation over developing the region’s gas reserves following talks in Cairo last week. Ministers from Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority met as part of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum, set up in January to develop the region’s gas resources, infrastructure and trade links. Member states agreed to “accelerate the economic exploitation of existing gas reserves, benefit from existing infrastructure, and develop more infrastructure to facilitate the exploitation of future gas discoveries,” the final communique said. US Energy Secretary Rick Perry, European Commissioner for Energy Miguel Arias Canete, and representatives from the World Bank and France also attended the meeting.
Encouraging the private sector: The forum will set up an advisory committee tasked with increasing private sector involvement in the gas industry, the statement said, without providing further details.
The details about this “regional gas market” are still pretty vague, with the statement shedding little light on the practical steps that countries will take to develop the region’s gas resources.
We’ll have to wait a while before things become clearer: The next meeting will not be held for another six months, when ministers reconvene in Cairo in late January 2020.
Turkey’s recent indiscretions in Cypriot waters came up during the forum, Perry told reporters without providing details, according to Reuters. The Turkish government recently stepped up its gas exploration efforts in the disputed waters, facing down EU threats to impose sanctions if it continued to ignore demands.
Egypt, US sign energy cooperation MoU: Oil Minister Tarek El Molla and Secretary Perry signed an agreement on the sidelines of the meeting to exchange knowledge and expertise, according to an Oil Ministry statement. Perry has also met with President Sisi and discussed increasing US investments energy investments in Egypt, according to an Ittihadiya statement.