Egypt looking set to be cooking with gas
Egypt will soon announce details of an auction for the planned import of liquefied natural gas (LNG), a petroleum ministry source told Ahram Online Wednesday.
The source, who requested anonymity, added that Egyptian petroleum minister Osama Kamal had not yet finalised the terms of the auction, but confirmed that imports would be carried out by the private sector.
The ministry plans to import between 1 billion and 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas daily in an effort to supplement local power plants and steel and cement factories, Egyptian financial daily Al-Mal reported on Wednesday.
With extensive reserves in the Western Desert, Egypt represents the second largest natural gas producer in Africa after Algeria, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
The country currently exports dry and liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe, the US and South Korea. It also continues to supply a handful of Arab countries through the Arab Gas Pipeline, completed in 2004.
Experts, however, predict that as the economy grows, Egypt will inevitably turn into a net importer of natural gas.
In September, Kamal visited Qatar to negotiate a possible LNG import deal. At the time, official sources told Egyptian state daily Al-Ahram that the Egyptian government planned to import 400 to 500 million cubic feet of LNG on a daily basis.
During the first quarter of the 2012/13 fiscal year, Egyptian energy subsidies reached a total of LE28 billion. This figure is expected to reach a whopping LE120 billion during the current fiscal year, Kamal told parliament's upper house on Monday.
In 2010, Egypt produced roughly 2.3 trillion cubic feet (TCF) and consumed just over 1.6 TCF of natural gas, according to official data.