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France and US request to join East Mediterranean Gas Forum 

January 17, 2020 at 10:03 am

Officials, including Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz (FR) and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi (C) pose for a photo following the Mediterranean Gas Forum in the Egyptian capital Cairo, Egypt on 26 July 2019 [simonarann/Twitter]

During the third ministerial meeting of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum in Cairo, France officially requested to join. The deputy assistant US secretary of energy also expressed his country’s desire to join as a permanent observer.

Egyptian minister of petroleum and mineral resources, Tarek El-Molla, welcomed France’s participation in the meeting and its official request to join the forum, as well as the US’ request to join. He explained that these requests will be approved by the founding members, according to the statute of the forum.

El-Molla indicated that he will ask for the addition of environmental protection fields in the World Bank studies that it is preparing for the forum, in addition to exploring the uses of renewable energies along with hydrogen.

El-Molla has previously chaired the forum hosted by Cairo on Thursday, with the participation of the Cypriot minister of energy, trade and industry, the Greek minister of environment and energy, the Israeli minister of energy, the undersecretary of the Italian ministry of economic development, the economic affairs advisor to the Palestinian president, the representative of the Jordanian ministry of energy, the deputy assistant US secretary of energy, the head of the strategic sectors for Europe and foreign affairs at the French ministry of foreign affairs, as well as the European Union’s ambassador to Cairo and a representative of the World Bank.

On the sidelines of the meeting, El-Molla held bilateral discussions with the Cypriot minister of energy, trade and industry, Yiorgos Lakkotrypis, and the Greek minister of energy and environment, Kostis Hatzidakis.

READ: 2020 sees Turkey set its sights on the Mediterranean 

The meeting discussed the position of regional cooperation in the field of gas in the Eastern Mediterranean region, as well as developments in the region and the strengthening of joint ties between Egypt, Cyprus and Greece, in the fields of oil and gas.

During El-Molla’s meeting with his Cypriot counterpart, the two officials reviewed joint efforts to boost bilateral cooperation in the field of gas in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The two officials also reviewed the executive position for the development of the Cypriot Aphrodite field in the Mediterranean, in light of the recent agreements of the Cypriot government with companies exploring the field.

This came in conjunction with the discussion of steps to activate the joint government agreement to establish a direct pipeline to transport Cypriot gas to Egypt, and then to Abu Dhabi’s National Oil Company’s liquified national gas plant.

El-Molla also discussed with his Greek counterpart the ways to support bilateral cooperation between the two countries, and methods of attracting investments by Greek companies, in research and exploration activities in Egypt.

The Egyptian minister of petroleum and mineral resources also reviewed the available investment opportunities in various fields of the oil sector, in a manner that realises the common interests of the two countries. The meeting also tackled recent developments in the Eastern Mediterranean region, and the work on coordinating common positions within the framework of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum.

This month, Greece, Israel and Cyprus signed a joint agreement to launch an East-Mediterranean pipeline to pump gas to Europe, via the Eastern Mediterranean, in response to the Turkish-Libyan agreement to demarcate the sea borders in the same region, which the three countries and Egypt have rejected.