‘Egypt Is Not Short Of Natural Gas’- Former Oil Minister - Africa’s premier report on the oil, gas and energy landscape.

‘Egypt Is Not Short Of Natural Gas’- Former Oil Minister

Osama Kamal says the country could gain added value by producing chemicals with natural gas than generating power…

“We don’t have a shortage in natural gas”, a former Egyptian Minister of Petroleum has declared, in a statement that’s contrary to mainstream perception. “We are maintaining the same production rates”, Osama Kamal told Egypt Oil & Gas Web Portal (www.egyptoilgas.com). Kamal oversaw the crucial ministry under the deposed President Mohammed Morsi. He told the website that what has now become a crisis arose from planning for projects that would consume more gas even when gas production was not on the uptick. “We were expecting to produce 6.4 Billion Cubic Feet (BCF) per day by 2012 and the required quantities at that time were 6.3 BCF per day, but that didn’t happen, and we maintained a 5.5 BCF per day. That’s to say we’re lacking 1.0 BCF per day. In 2013 production rate was planned to reach 8.4 BCF per day from new developments, which didn’t happen”. He added: “Simply you’re lacking developments that lead to increased production”.

Egypt is working on plans to import gas to meet the consumption of electricity plants while the state is rationing gas supplies to cement, petrochemical and manufacturing plants. Kamal touched on the reason why gas production projects are stalled. “The current investors can’t inject any more cash unless they’ve paid their overdue bills. This behaviour of delaying payments started in 2010 leading to an accumulated overdue, reaching $6.5 billion, which under the current economic situation can’t be paid back in a year. As much as we care for compensating the overdue bills, we also want to maintain the current invoices on time. He makes the case for alternative sources of fuel for electricity: “We’re currently consuming all the natural resources of the country in businesses that do not add real value to the natural resources”, he told the website. “Generating electricity from natural gas or diesel oil is not a good solution for energy, taking into consideration that you have alternatives, like solar cells, windmills, and even nuclear resources.  Currently you can get cheaper electricity from solar cells rather than oil resources at a rate of 10 cents per kilowatt, while it costs you right now something like 20 cents, so you can get it at a half price. This will actually save not only your budget but also your resources and your natural resources. Second, you can redirect all these oil resources to other higher value industries such as chemicals where you can get an added value of something like a hundred times when you generate power”.

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