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Shura Council accuses Israel of stealing Egyptian oil

February 17, 2014 at 11:20 pm

Members of the Arab Affairs and National Security Committee in the Egyptian parliament’s upper house, the Shura Council, have accused Israel of stealing from the oilfields within Egypt’s maritime exclusive economic zone. The committee members were highly critical of the Minister of Petroleum, Osama Kamal – who denied that Israel had done anything to harm Egypt deliberately – and the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who attended the meeting called especially to discuss the issue.

Ambassador Ibrahim Yousry, former Assistant Foreign Minister and Director of International Law and International Treaties, asked whether a revolution really did take place in Egypt or if the “deep state” was still in control. “Why does the Minister of Petroleum defend what is clearly a loss for Egypt?” he asked, pointing to the estimated value of the losses, which stands at around $400 million.

In response, Ambassador Badr Abdel Atti, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State dealing with the European Union, drew attention to the fact that according to all international surveys and maps there is absolutely no exploration or drilling in the oil or gas fields within the Egyptian EEZ on the borders with Turkey and Israel. Since 2003, he said, there has been an agreement between Egypt and Turkey over the demarcation of their maritime EEZ borders (set at 200 nautical miles), in accordance with the International Boundary and Water Commission. The agreement was ratified by the Egyptian parliament in 2004.

Abdel Atti mentioned a 2006 framework agreement that has not been ratified by Egypt as yet, on the exploitation of hydrocarbon reservoirs, oil and gas, on the Egyptian-Turkish border. He stressed that the gas wells that have been discovered recently between Egypt and Turkey are located precisely in the territorial waters of Cyprus, adding that there is not yet a demarcation for the border with Israel due to the problem of the Palestinian issue. He ended by reminding those present that all the bodies of the state and its government are working toward the national interest of the country.