Egypt's oil ministry has outlined an ambitious plan to expand the role of the Egyptian and foreign private capital in funding oil projects nationwide over the next ten years.
Minister of Petroleum Sameh Fahmi said last week his ministry would reassess the old management policies of all oil and natural gas pipelines to increase their efficiency.
Fahmi said the new strategy would be to encourage more agreements with foreign firms to operate new natural gas pipelines for exportation, particularly after the great discoveries that have been made in the deep waters of the Mediterranean.
The strategy of the Egyptian oil sector has definitely changed at the end of the last millennium with the participation of a number of Egyptian private sector companies in investments and financing for the first time, without burdening the government with costs of constructing new pipelines.
The new global trend generally tends to maximize projects through cutting costs, improving the performance of pipelines with minimum costs, and signing agreements for exchanging services for these pipelines, using the latest and most technologically developed monitoring systems.
Ministry of Petroleum officials say the strategy for the transportation of hydrocarbons in developing countries in the new millennium could be defined by the following:
- The increase in number of new non-state-owned companies in the fields of pipelines construction, operation and maintenance while improving maintenance procedures, management and operation of pipelines besides the use of modern scientific methods.
- Signing mutual service agreements for exploiting pipelines and sharing in them.
- The construction of strategic pipelines with the aim of exporting or importing natural gas and crude oil.
"In few words, the current climate demands more investments to modernize maintenance operations and provide new management for various oil projects", said Fahmi.
He suggested establishing ad-hoc companies, using state of-the-art technology, to manage these major developments in the oil industry.
In the meantime, construction is underway on Egypt's first offshore oil platform, the only deepwater petroleum operation in the Middle East.
The platform is being built in deepwater near the West Delta and will be operational by 2003.
Fahmi said international experts had assessed Egypt's offshore oilfields as similar to those of the North Sea and Gulf of Mexico.Rashid Petroleum Company is in charge of the oilfield's development process in cooperation with British Gas and Italy's Addison. The latest technology will be used to transfer the oil and natural gas from the offshore reserves.
Fahmi said his ministry, in coordination with the Egyptian Environment Authority (EEA), conducts all necessary environmental studies before starting any oil exploration or drilling operations. – (Albawaba-MEBG)
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