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Sunday, 14 May 2017

EMRA’s gold exploration tender results within a week -Minister Tarek El Molla

Tarek El Molla on gold exploration, de-regulation of the natural gas industry and the coming swing in priorities toward oil: Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister Tarek El Molla spoke at an AmCham luncheon we attended on Thursday. We learned that the gold exploration tender results will be out within a week or so, that the amendments to the Mineral Resources Act are in the works, and the Natural Gas Act — which portends de-regulation of the market — is pending a plenary discussion at the House. Key takeaways:

  • On whether fuel subsidy cuts will come before the end of the FY, El Molla told Enterprise, “We don’t know yet.”
  • Results of the Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority’s controversial gold exploration tender will be announced within the coming week or so. “We received really good offers,” El Molla said, adding that a large number of investors are interested.
  • On the Mineral Resources Act, El Molla said, “We are working on amendments to the law that will satisfy most of the stakeholders.” He gave no further details.
  • Committee-level discussion of the proposed Natural Gas Act to deregulate the market has ended. The ministry is now waiting for a date on which to introduce the bill to the House as a whole. El Molla stressed that there will be an independent regulator for a deregulated market in which EGAS and EGPC will be players alongside others.
  • Production from the second phase of BP’s North Alexandria concession will begin ahead of schedule in 2018 instead of the planned 2019. “By the end of 2018, we will have self-sufficiency in gas and we will exceed [domestic] demand,” El Molla said.
  • A record number of 76 upstream agreements were signed in the last three years. 21 gas development projects with USD 7.4 bn investments were completed; nine are ongoing with USD 30.2 bn investments, and 11 are planned with USD 17.5 bn investments.
  • Look for the emphasis going forward to swing toward oil from natural gas: “I am satisfied with what we have done with our partners [to accelerate natural gas production] … we need to do the same with oil. This is what we are focusing on,” said El Molla.

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