Qatar, Egypt to boost energy cooperation; sign refinery deal

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Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Osama Kamal (L) and Qatar’s Minister of Energy and Industry, Mohammed bin Saleh al-Sada chat as they attend the Qatar-Egypt Energy meeting in Doha, Qatar on 22 September 2012. Reports said Qatar will make a $3.7 billion investment in an oil refinery in Egypt. The refinery will produce 4.2 million tons of gasoline, diesel and other energy products per year. Photo – EPA/STR via Bulgaria News Agency

Qatar announced it will go ahead with its strategic investments in Egypt to help the country get past the economic turbulence it is going through since the 2011 fall of Hosni Mubarak.

Mohammed bin Saleh al-Sada, Qatar’s minister of energy and industry, said critical investments will be made in a $3.7 billion oil refinery project in Egypt during Egypt’s Minister of Petroleum Osama Kamal’s visit to Doha on Saturday. He declined to give the specific amount of his country’s share, but previous reports suggest Qatar is ready to invest at least $400 million to help launch the long-stalled project.

Egypt’s Oil Minister Usama Kamal said Saturday the refinery on the outskirts of Cairo will produce 4.2 million tons per year of gasoline, diesel and other energy products.

Qatar’s leading English daily Gulf Times reported that Qatar Petroleum International (QPI) will join Egypt’s Orient Company and the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) in their venture to set up a new $3.6bn refinery in Greater Cairo. The refinery will be set up under Egypt Refining Company (ERC) and is expected to start up in 2016, the report added.

The state-of-the-art refinery will produce more than 4.2m tonnes of refined products and oil derivatives annually, including more than 2.3m tonnes of high quality and environmentally-friendly diesel per year and will enable Egypt to cut its diesel imports by up to 50%.

Roughly 56% of Egypt’s natural gas consumption goes to the electricity sector, which is the largest gas-consuming sector, while another 27% goes to the industrial sector.

Last week, the head of Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) Mohamed Shoeib announced finding six new natural gas sources in the Mediterranean and Nile Delta regions.

The new explorations help raise the daily production of Egypt’s natural gas to 6 billion cubic feet.

In April, Egypt cancelled the natural gas exporting deal with Israel. Cancelling the deal means Egypt keeps 60 billion cubic feet of gas that can now be used to replace petroleum products imported to meet domestic energy demands.

In 2010, Egypt produced around 2.3 Trillion Cubic Feet (TCF) and consumed just over 1.6 TCF of natural gas, according to official data.

Egypt’s proven gas reserves registered at 77 TCF, an increase from 2010 estimates of 58.5 TCF and the third highest in Africa, after Nigeria and Algeria.

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