Wednesday, 5 January 2022

Infrastructure: What’s to come in 2022?

Infrastructure: What’s to come in 2022? 2021 saw major leaps forward on a host of transportations projects to modernize urban and trans-governorate travel and overhaul our ailing railway networks, and companies struggled to maneuver their way through a global supply chain crisis that led to jammed shipping routes and materials shortages.

Looking ahead to 2022, we see two big themes likely to dominate infrastructure news: While transportation and supply chain woes will continue to feature prominently in 2022, It is safe to say that moves to realize our ambitions of becoming a regional energy hub. The big question, however, is whether ongoing supply disruptions and inflationary pressures will get in the way of our energy goals. Today, we breakdown why our energy hub ambitions could be closer to our reach this year.

The Damietta LNG plant got the ball rolling on our energy hub ambitions: Plans to become an energy hub and boost natgas exports to Europe got a kickstart when the Damietta LNG plant came back online in February after an eight-year hiatus. Thanks in part to resumption of the Damietta plant’s operations, Egypt’s LNG terminals were running at full capacity by December, exporting the equivalent of around 1.6 bn cubic feet per day (bcf/d) as we tried to capitalize on the surge in natural gas prices overseas.

The Oil Ministry wants to increase the amount of gas it pipes in from Israel for export exports to 600-650 mn cf/d in 1Q2022, up from 450 mn cf/d currently. Under the existing USD 19.5 bn agreement with Israel, Egypt currently imports 2.1 bcm a year, which will increase to 6.7 bcm from 2023 through to 2034.

Europe’s natgas woes have the potential to boost exports further: With no sign of a detente between Russia and its NATO rivals, the squeeze on European gas prices is expected to last into 2023. Egyptian oil shipments are expected to fall to 1 bcf/d next summer due to rising domestic consumption, according to Oil Minister Tarek El Molla. But in the longer term, Europe’s gas troubles could pave the way for Egypt to boost exports to the continent.

And rival energy projects seem to be falling through: Last week, Israel’s Environment Ministry may have temporarily scuttled a pipeline by which Israel hopes to export UAE oil while bypassing the Suez Canal, according to AP.

Key to the plan to ramp up exports to Europe: The East Mediterranean Gas Forum. Headquartered in Cairo, the regional organization was ratified by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi in September after its founding members signed the charter last year. It brings founding members Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan and Palestine together to collaborate on strategy, development and financing in the sector.

All potential pipelines lead to Egypt: The EMGF forum’s November meeting saw the Madbouly government sign agreements with Greece and Israel that could help it grow exports to Europe — including pipeline plans galore. Under the MoUs, we can expect to see Greece and Egypt work more closely on natgas this year, while a new subsea pipeline between the two countries could be in the works. Israeli imports for re-export should also ramp up, and a pipeline for Israeli gas is also under consideration. That’s in addition to the planned link between Cyprus’ Aphrodite natural gas field and Egypt, currently expected to come online in 2024 or 2025.

There’s also Lebanon: The renovation of the Arab Gas Pipeline to begin to export natural gas to Lebanon amidst their electricity crisis is expected to be ready by early next year.

Expect electricity interconnection projects to light up 2022: Electricity interconnection agreements were all the rage last year. We inked agreements with Greece and Cyprus on the USD 4 bn EuroAfrica Interconnector project, which will connect the electrical grids of Egypt, Greece, and Cyprus by late 2023 — and made a separate pact with Cyprus that would also see us connect our electricity grids. Jordan and Egypt are also set to double capacity on the electricity link between the two countries, part of a larger project to eventually link Egypt’s grid to Libya, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey. Meanwhile, a consortium of Orascom Construction (OC) and Japan’s Hitachi ABB Power Grids is working on connecting our grid with Saudi Arabia’s by 2024.

NEXT WEEK- The second part of our infrastructure year ahead series will focus on another sector that is expected to be big in 2022: water. Enterprise dug up a number of water projects that will be worked on or completed next year and talked to industry experts to get their take on what the big trends will be and what challenges they face.

Your top infrastructure stories for the week:

  • Eight new oil + gas exploration licenses handed out: Seven international energy companies — including BP and Eni — have been awarded eight of the 24 oil and gas exploration blocks included in the government’s bid round held last year.
  • Suez Canal rival nixed: A proposed oil transport corridor between the UAE and Israel has apparently been shelved after it was blocked by Israel’s Justice Ministry.
  • Elsewedy Electric's Egytech Cables signed an EGP 440 mn contract for the supply, installation and maintenance of 132 kV ground cables for the Kuwaiti El Mutlaa Residential city.
  • Nafeza user base expands: Some 27k Egyptian importers and 68k foreign companies have registered with Nafeza in the three months since its launch, according to Finance Minister Mohamed Maait.
  • Malta breaks ground on telecom cable connecting to Egypt: Malta has begun laying a 55 km-long subsea telecommunications cable that will link the country to a longer subsea line stretching from France to Egypt via Cyprus.

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