Egypt on track to begin natgas exports in January

Egypt is set to begin exporting natural gas as of January 2019, by which time it will have reached self-sufficiency, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla tells El Watan. Egypt’s final imported LNG cargo is planned for September 2018, meaning gas imports are officially coming to an end as of October. Domestic production will be enough to cover local demand in 4Q2018, according to El Molla. There remain no concrete targets for how much natural gas Egypt will be exporting, the minister said, adding that it will not be “large quantities” since fulfilling domestic demand remains the top priority. The government is also wary of signing on for more exports than the country will be able to sustain.

Background: The confirmation that we are on track to become a net exporter of natural gas comes one day after Italy’s Eni announced signing a new concession agreement with the Egyptian government to begin exploration activities at the offshore Noor gas field in the East Mediterranean. El Molla indicated after the signing that the Madbouly government is prioritizing further exploration and production agreements in the near future as part of its drive to turn Egypt into the region’s premier energy hub. The Oil Ministry had previously announced it is planning to tender several oil and gas exploration blocks, as well as other drilling tenders in the Red Sea, by year’s end.