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Egypt to export natural liquid gas

Egypt is about to begin exporting natural liquid gas (NLG) for the first time in its history, reports the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak visited the Mubarak Complex for Natural Gas and Petrochemicals in Damietta on Monday, where he gave the green light to a project of shifting and exporting NLG. Some 7.5 billion square meters of NLG are expected to be exported yearly, wrote Al-Ahram.

The stability in the political, economic, and investment spheres was the cornerstone in the establishment of several giant projects in the petrol and gas sector, said Mubarak.

A 20-year, three-phase plan to develop the petrochemical industry was announced in January 2005 by Sana Al-Banna, chairman of the Egyptian Petrochemical Holding Company (Echem).

Al-Banna announced this during the second conference on petrochemicals, organized by the Middle East Economic Digest (MEED) in January. “The plan aims to make use of Egypt’s extensive natural gas reserves which will serve as the cornerstone of the emerging industry,” said Al-Banna.

According to a report by Al-Ahram Weekly, Egypt’s petrochemical industry currently generates $7 billion in annual revenues. Under the ambitious plan announced by Al-Banna, $10 billion worth of investment will be pumped into 14 new petrochemical complexes in the governorates of Bahira, Kafr A-Sheikh, Damietta, Daqahlia, Isma’iliyya and Suez over the next two decades, creating an estimated 100,000 new jobs in the sector by 2020.

The new projects will join five other petrochemical plants established in the wake of natural gas discoveries, which have been growing steadily over the last decade.

According to the latest figures released by the Ministry of Petroleum, Egypt’s proven natural gas reserves have reached 60 trillion cubic feet (tcf).

Petroleum and natural gas now account for eight percent of GDP and 40 percent of Egypt’s exports. But this could well be the tip of the iceberg. According to Sameh Fahmi, minister of petroleum, gas exports alone have the potential to generate $2 billion annually. “Egypt’s strategic reserves,” he says, “are currently being made available for new gas export and manufacturing schemes.”