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Sunday, 21 July 2019

EU to provide Egypt with EUR 20 mn in funding to wean itself off Russian gas

EU to provide Egypt with EUR 20 mn in funding to wean itself off Russian gas: The EU is planning to provide Egypt with EUR 20 mn in funding for its natural gas sector, according to statements by the EU delegation’s head in Egypt Ivan Surkos picked up by Al Mal. The funding would be weaved into a series of loans from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB), and a number of other financial institutions to the gas sector, Surkos said at the signing of a fuel bunkering agreement between the Oil Ministry and the port of Antwerp on Tuesday. “The new project, called EU for Energy, is a five-year project for capacity building, passing experience, and strengthening the expertise of Egypt in the gas sector,” Surkos told the local press.

The motive — EU sees East Mediterranean gas (and our prime position in it) as an alternative to Russian gas: Surkos revealed that the grand vision for the aid is to help the EU wean itself off of Russian gas, with the East Mediterranean gas reserves and Egypt’s position in it as an export hub being the most viable alternative. Establishing the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) — founded in Cairo back in January to bringing together the gas markets of Egypt, Cyprus, Israel, Greece, and Italy — is crucial for the EU to lower its dependence on Russian gas, and the East Mediterranean gas will be a convenient alternative source of energy for Europe, Surkos said. “We will announce a certain financial support for the EMGF next week as a symbolic amount of funding to support the regional cooperation in gas and energy,” he added.

Protecting its investment — EU is planning measures to counter Turkey’s interloping: It looks like the EU will push through with measures designed to dissuade Turkey from drilling illegally off the coast of Cyprus. “It has been announced that the EU is going to suspend negotiations with Turkey about Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement,” said Surkos. “The European commission will request the EIB to review all projects which the bank is implementing in Turkey, as part of other decisions, to make Turkey stop its drilling activities off the coast of Cyprus,” he noted.

New EU funding also coming for electricity: The EU will announce new funds to strengthen Egypt’s electricity grid through connecting it with the renewable sources’ produced energy, Surkos is reported to have said.

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