|(L) Miguel Arias Cañete, (R) Tarek El Molla|
Egypt, EU to sign energy cooperation agreement this week: Egypt and the EU are expected to sign an MoU on "Strategic Cooperation in Energy" this week during EU Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete’s three-day visit to Cairo, which begins today. It’s unclear when exactly the signing will take place and what the agreement will entail. Oil Minister Tarek El Molla had said last week that the agreement is part of a larger plan to turn Egypt into an export hub for East Mediterranean gas, a topic that is expected to feature strongly in Cañete’s talks with Egyptian officials this week, according to a ministry statement picked up by Al Masry Al Youm. “Egypt can lead the way of the clean energy transition in the Eastern Mediterranean and thus contribute to the Paris climate goals and the worldwide decarbonisation effort,” Cañete said. “The EU stands ready to support Egypt in its energy market reforms and to boost sustainable energy investment.”
Background: Cañete and El Molla had agreed, when they met in Brussels last December, to increase energy cooperation, after Cairo reached a preliminary agreement with Cyprus on establishing a pipeline connecting fields in the Cypriot Economic Zone with liquefaction plants in Egypt’s Idku or Damietta, which would pave the way for EastMed gas exports to Europe. Cypriot Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides had said earlier this month that the contracts would be signed soon, once ongoing negotiations over terms and purchase agreements have concluded. Egypt’s Dolphinus Holdings has also signed a USD 15 bn agreement that will also see it import gas from Israel.
Funding packages to connect households to natural gas grid: Cañete is also expected to hold a press conference to announce the details of the EU and French Development Agency’s support packages for the government’s drive to connect households to the natural gas grid. The funding will be directed primarily towards densely populated governorates, with Upper Egypt topping the priority list.
Also on the agenda: In addition to El Molla, Cañete will also meet with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker, and the heads of European oil and gas companies operating in Egypt to discuss ways the EU can boost its support for Egypt’s energy sectors. The EU official will also inaugurate the Egypt-EU Sustainable Energy Business Forum and pay a visit to the Zohr gas field.