CAIRO: Tarek El-Molla, the Egyptian minister of petroleum and mineral resources, has met with Mark Bowman, the vice president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, to enhance cooperation in reducing carbon emissions and promoting clean energy.
The two sides also covered global oil and natural gas prices — which are significantly rising due to several political crises — and reviewed the ongoing preparations for Egypt’s hosting of the COP27 World Climate Summit.
El-Molla stressed that Egypt is committed to international agreements for preserving the environment and reducing emissions, foremost of which is the Paris Climate Agreement, adding that Cairo has adopted an ambitious strategy that supports the transition to cleaner energy use by reducing carbon emissions as part of its “Egypt 2030” vision for sustainable development.
The minister said that Egypt is developing an ambitious plan to use hydrogen as a low-hydrocarbon fuel source, focusing on producing blue hydrogen in the short- and medium-term as well as the production of green hydrogen.
He noted the importance of natural gas as a transitional fuel, as it has the fewest fossil fuel emissions, adding that several countries have adopted it as they move towards cleaner energy.
El-Molla said that modern, advanced technologies have provided a great opportunity to not only reduce carbon emissions but to also capture, store and exploit them, which was not possible until a few years ago.
The minister said that the petroleum sector is working on several projects to reduce emissions, foremost of which is the plan to produce wooden panels from rice straw.
He also referred to the pilot project being implemented in partnership with Italian company Eni in the Meleiha fields of Agiba in the Western Desert to capture and store carbon with new technologies.
He added: “This is besides the projects to benefit from flare gasses instead of burning them in oil fields, which contributes to reducing carbon dioxide emissions by more than 800,000 tonnes.”
During the meeting, the two sides agreed to form a joint working group to identify clean energy projects and reduce emissions. It will prepare for an initiative following studies on the low-carbon opportunities that will be launched during the COP27 climate summit hosted by Egypt this year.
Bowman affirmed the European Bank’s appreciation of the relationship with Egypt and its aspiration to expand cooperation with Cairo.
He noted the bank’s full readiness to support Egypt’s efforts to preserve the environment and participate strongly in the upcoming World Climate Summit.
Bowman also praised Egypt’s important role in the region and the world and its transformation — in cooperation with neighboring countries — into a key regional hub for trade and the circulation of gas and oil, and a gateway to Africa in the energy sector.