The petroleum sector recovered after a difficult time following the events of the 25 January 2011 revolution. Over the past four years, the sector managed to achieve distinct results in various petroleum activities after political and security stability returned to Egypt, with the measures taken by the state to bring back investment and encourage major petroleum companies to continue their work in Egypt and inject new investments.
Minister of Petroleum Tarek El-Molla managed to activate investments in petroleum and gas exploration in order to develop the country’s petroleum wealth and make new discoveries. The Ministry of Petroleum launched five new bids over that period for petroleum and gas exploration in the Mediterranean, Delta, the Western and Eastern Deserts, Gulf of Suez, and Upper Egypt.
About 83 petroleum agreements were signed in order to start petroleum and gas exploration with several international companies from various countries, with investments worth at least $15.5bn, and about $1.1bn for the drilling of 356 wells.
These agreements managed to achieve many petroleum discoveries, such as the Zohr gas field in the Mediterranean, with investments worth over $12bn. Additionally, many other projects for exploration development were implemented over the past period.
The ministry has also taken serious steps towards putting the Red Sea region on the map of petroleum and gas investments, research, and exploration, especially since it is a region that has not previously seen petroleum activities, except for the Gulf of Suez.
For the first time, the Egyptian economic waters of the Red Sea will see the launch of an international bid to search for oil and gas once the collection of geophysical data is completed in the area. The project was launched by South Valley Egyptian Petroleum Holding Company to be implemented by international companies with investments worth $750m. This would not have been possible if it was not for the demarcation agreement with Saudi Arabia, especially since international companies do not tend to direct their investments and activities to regions without demarcations.
Through a programme to repay the accumulated dues owed to foreign partners, the ministry managed to reduce the amounts due to their lowest in years, reaching $2.4bn by the end of June 2017, compared to $6.3bn in 2013.
The ministry also managed to increase the number of units that have natural gas delivered to them across the country, reaching 8.3m residential units in 26 governorates across the country since the activity of delivering gas started in Egypt through the end of January 2018, including about 844,000 units in Upper Egypt.
El-Molla also started implementing an integrated strategy to turn Egypt into a strategic hub for the trade of gas and petroleum with its resources that enable it to play that role, especially with the great promising discoveries in the field of gas and petroleum, particularly in the Mediterranean Sea.