Egypt petroleum ministry keen to resolve gas export disputes: Official

Gas tanks are seen in the desert north of Cairo. (Reuters)
Updated 20 February 2018

Egypt petroleum ministry keen to resolve gas export disputes: Official

CAIRO: Egypt’s petroleum ministry on Tuesday said that it was keen to resolve any gas export disputes.
Officials said Egypt was right to import gas “from Cyprus or from anywhere else” in its quest to become a regional energy hub. The statements followed Monday’s announcement of a $15 billion deal to export Israeli gas to Egypt.
Ministry spokesman Hamdi Abdel Aziz was quoted by local news website Masrawy saying “receiving gas from Israel is part of solutions to reach an agreement on disputes between companies before the international arbitration court.”
A Reuters report said on Monday that an Egyptian company would buy $15 billion of Israeli natural gas in two 10-year agreements.
The partners in Israel’s Tamar and Leviathan offshore gas fields said they would supply the private Egyptian firm Dolphinus Holdings with around 64 billion cubic meters of gas over a decade — with half coming from each field, and the proceeds shared equally.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the agreements would “strengthen our economy (and) strengthen regional ties.”
Israel’s Delek Group and Texas-based Noble Energy have led both gas projects.
“Egypt is becoming a real gas hub,” Yossi Abu, CEO of Delek unit Delek Drilling, told Reuters. “This deal is the first deal of potentially more to come.”
Egyptian Petroleum Minister Tarek El-Molla told the private Egyptian television channel “ON E that” outstanding disputes would have to be resolved for the deal to go through.
Molla’s comments refer to Egypt’s challenge to a 2015 ruling by the International Chamber of Commerce ordering the country to pay $2 billion in compensation after a deal to export gas to Israel via pipeline collapsed in 2012 due to months of attacks by insurgents in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula.
“We don’t mind importing gas from Israel, but we have terms in order (to allow) something like this to happen ... most importantly, the settlement of ongoing arbitration,” Molla said.
An Egyptian government official who declined to be identified said the deal did not mean Egypt itself would import any gas from abroad.
“International private companies will import gas from abroad in the framework of their own needs, and will liquefy and export them again,” the official said, without elaborating.


Middle East chief executives share global gloom on economic prospects

Updated 21 January 2020

Middle East chief executives share global gloom on economic prospects

  • Only China and India among the major economic blocs were less pessimistic on average
  • Trade wars, geopolitical tensions and climate change threats were the factors weighing most heavily on executive minds

DAVOS: Global business chiefs are more pessimistic about prospects for the world economy than for many years, and senior executives in the Middle East are among the most gloomy, according to the annual survey of chief executive officers’ opinion released at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos.

The poll — by consulting firm PwC — showed that a record number of CEOs were pessimistic about the international economy, with an average of 53 percent predicting a decline in the rate of growth in 2020.

While bosses in North America and Europe were particularly downbeat about prospects, with 63 percent and 59 percent saying they thought things would get worse this year, CEOs in the Middle East were also more gloomy than average, with 57 percent predicting lower growth this year.

Only China and India among the major economic blocs were less pessimistic on average, but there was a sharp decline in the number of Chinese executives who wanted to do business with the US — just 11 percent identified the US as their most attractive market, compared with 59 percent two years ago.

Trade wars, geopolitical tensions and climate change threats were the factors weighing most heavily on executive minds — apart from the standard complaints about over-regulation by governments.

Unveiling the 2020 results, PwC chairman Bob Moritz said: “Given the lingering uncertainty over trade tensions, geopolitical issues and the lack of agreement on how to deal with climate change, the drop in confidence in economic growth is not surprising – even if the scale of the change in mood is.”

Last year, there was a record number of CEOs who said they were optimistic about global economic growth, and only 29 percent said they were pessimistic.

“These challenges facing the global economy are not new. However, the scale of them and the speed at which some of them are escalating is new, the key issue for leaders gathering in Davos is: How are we going to come together to tackle them,” Moritz added.

The poll of 1,600 CEOs in 83 countries was taken toward the end of last year, before tensions in the Middle East escalated in the Arabian Gulf, but before the tentative “phase one” agreements on world trade between the US and China.

The poll was also taken before the Australian wildfires further highlighted fears of climate change — a major focus of the WEF meeting.

The poll also found CEOs less confident than ever in their own companies’ prospects, with only 27 percent of CEOs saying they are “very confident” in their own organization’s growth over the next 12 months – the lowest level PwC has recorded since 2009 and down from 35 percent last year.