Egypt’s Minister of Petroleum Sherif Ismail said on Tuesday the Arab world’s most populous country is poised to get its first cargo of imported liquefied natural gas before summer to help meet rising demand as local production slumps, according to Bloomberg.
State-run Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Co. is in the “final stage” of reviewing three offers for rental of a regasification unit that would permit LNG imports, he said in an interview in Cairo. The government aims “to secure a reasonable number of cargoes” this year, Ismail said, without giving further details.
“We are also looking at scheduling LNG imports for 2015 and 2016 for a period between three and five years because we believe that Egypt has big proven and potential natural-gas reserves,” the minister said. “So we will be only needing that imported gas until we bridge the gap between production and consumption.”
Local energy exploration and production slowed in the three years since an uprising toppled Hosni Mubarak from the presidency. Debts to foreign oil companies increased to $4.8 billion by the end of 2013, according to Ismail.
Egypt is producing 5.1 billion cubic feet of natural gas daily, the minister said. That compares with 6.4 billion cubic feet in 2010. Output will expand to 5.8 billion cubic feet a day with additions from new and existing fields, he said.