The 7th East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) meetings
Saturday، 18 June 2022 - 02:07 AM
The East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) held its seventh ministerial meeting on Wednesday 15-6-2022, in Cairo.
Cypriot Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry Natasa Pilides, chairperson of the EMGF's current session inaugurated the event via video conference.
Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, EMGF 2022 rotating president Tarek el-Molla moderated the inaugural session.
The meeting was also attended by the Ministers of Energy of Egypt, Tarek El-Molla, of France, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, of Israel, Karine Elharrar, of Italy, Roberto Cingolani, of Jordan, Saleh Al-Kharabsheh and of Palestine, Zafer Milhem, the President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen and the Energy Commissioner of the European Union, Kadri Simson. While the United States of America, the European Union and the World Bank participated as Observers.
In his word addressing the forum, the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tareq el Mulla asserted the importance of the ministerial meeting of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), highlighting the important role EMGF plays in securing energy supplies through active regional cooperation, given the fact that geopolitical challenges are now looming ahead.
He, also, highlighted the EMGF's role in contribution to securing energy supplies and increasing exports to Europe.
Mulla added that hosting the forum confirms Egypt’s effective role as a major player in the establishment of a natural gas hub in the Mediterranean region.
Meanwhile, participating ministers expressed their commitment to continue to engage various parties, including governments, business partners and the private sector, to mobilize financing and technologies to de-carbonize natural gas and reduce methane emissions.
For her part, Cypriot Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry Natasa Pilides, the Chairperson of the EMGF's current session highlighted the EMGF’s significant role in working out solutions to secure energy needs on the global and regional levels, saying that “the forum does have a crucial role to play, I think that is especially evident in today’s environment with geopolitical and energy demand, challenges, being at the center of everyone’s attention.”
She added saying: “It is crucial for the organization to be a front runner, not only in correctly analyzing the situation and its potential impact, but also in finding appropriate solutions, which can actually elevate the organization’s importance and bring it from the regional front to the global front as a player that offers workable solutions not just to the EU, but to other markets as well.”
Concerning the energy mix, Pilides said that “diversifying energy sources and roots are of course a very important and crucial part of our strategy now with everything that’s happening, whilst at the same time we need to save guard the moment of the green transition and not forget our zero-emissions goal for 2050 for Europe.”
For her part, the Israeli Minister of Energy Karine Elharrar expressed her appreciation for Egypt’s hosting of this meeting, which reflects the stable relations in the eastern Mediterranean region, especially since there are geopolitical events in Eastern Europe that have severely affected the energy industry, in addition to the challenges facing everyone, and therefore solutions must be found to confront them and contribute to securing Energy supplies by working to develop resources, noting that there are gas exports to Europe from Israel under the forum's umbrella.
The Greek Minister of Environment and Energy, Kostas Skrekas, stated: “At today’s Summit, the will of all EMFG members was reaffirmed to intensify our efforts so that our cooperation in the field of natural gas can be a foundation of stability and prosperity for the region. EMGF countries can act as guarantors of energy security in the Eastern Mediterranean and Europe and play a leading role in the effort to break free from Russian fossil fuels. Today, I also stressed the urgent need to move towards cleaner energy, which will shield us from future crises. Energy security and sustainability are for us both sides of the same coin. The energy future of the country, with a sustainable focus on sustainable development.“
Mr. Skrekas pointed out that the EMGF Summit sends a strong message of cooperation and stability, in a particularly critical geopolitical situation, and promotes ambitious goals that guarantee the energy security of the region. He also mentioned the importance of the Eastern Mediterranean gas fields, in the effort to make Europe independent of Russian fossil fuel imports. To this end, Greece is developing joint infrastructure with Egypt, Cyprus and Israel in the field of energy.
The Minister of Environment and Energy presented the integrated strategy of the Greek Government to ensure adequacy of supply, with short-term and long-term measures. However, as he said, the immediate energy needs should not divert the states from the main goal of the green transition.
He pointed out that it was also agreed at the Summit that the EMGF would submit to the UN Conference on Climate Change COP27 next November in Egypt a comprehensive proposal for the gradual decarbonization of the region’s natural gas in cooperation with the Member States.
For his part, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources of Jordan Saleh A. Al-Kharabseheh said the forum is on the right track to develop resources of member states and take steps towards providing supplies in the light of the current geopolitical tension.
Kharabsheh pointed out importance of accelerating the process of energy transition by expanding the uses of gas and hydrogen through cooperation and joint action.
Meanwhile, EU Energy and Climate Commissioner Kadri Simson stressed that the meeting comes at an important time for the EU, which is looking for diversification of energy supply sources.
She stressed that the European Union is a strong supporter of the forum, its objectives and encourages cooperation between the participating countries, including the agreement signed today between Egypt, Israel and the European Union.
President El-Sisi met with President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi received President of the European Commission Mrs. Ursula von der Leyen, in the presence of Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Sameh Shoukry, Head of the General Intelligence General Abbas Kamel, Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy Dr. Mohamed Shaker, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Engineer Tarek El Molla, and European Commissioner for Energy Mrs Kadri Simson, and European Union Ambassador to Cairo Christian Berger.
President El-Sisi expressed his pleasure to meet President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, saying: “I was pleased to meet with President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen within the framework of fruitful cooperation and mutual dialogue between Egypt and the European Union across all fields.
I would like to express my pleasure with this meeting and to confirm the strong relations between Egypt and the EU, which are moving towards more cooperation and partnership in various fields, the most important of which are energy and food security and climate, in addition to coordination efforts on many regional and international issues.”
President El-Sisi stressed the deep and strong relations and ties between Egypt and the European Union, particularly in light of the common challenges they face on both sides of the Mediterranean as well as the negative repercussions of the successive international crises during the recent period on the international economy especially in the areas of energy and food security.
For her part, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen expressed her honor to meet President El-Sisi. She praised the distinguished historical relations between the European Union and Egypt, especially that Egypt is a hub for security and stability in the region that is currently going through a critical stage of severe turmoil, making it an important strategic partner to the European Union.
The meeting discussed various aspects of cooperation and mutual dialogue between Egypt and the European Union in all political, economic and security fields, especially with the forthcoming adoption of the EU-Egypt partnership priorities for 2021-2027. The partnership priorities would define cooperation paths between the two sides in the upcoming years.
The President of the European Commission, also, stressed the European side’s interest to strengthen cooperation with Egypt in the energy sector, particularly liquefied natural gas, since Egypt is rich with resources and has a distinguished infrastructure. This is in addition to the fact that there are two natural gas liquefaction stations in Egypt in Edku and Damietta, which allow the export of gas and contributes to cooperation in the clean and renewable energy sector to make use of Egypt's resources, especially solar and wind energy.
The meeting discussed coordination efforts between Egypt and the European Union on many important regional and international issues, mostly at the level of the peace process in the Middle East. The President of the European Commission praised the tireless and continuous Egyptian efforts regarding Egypt's initiative for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.
The issue of the Renaissance Dam was also discussed in the meeting. President El-Sisi stressed Egypt's firm position on preserving its water rights through reaching a balanced and legally binding agreement. The agreement shall ensure clear rules for the process of the filling and operation of the dam and shall achieve the common interests of all parties. President El-Sisi stressed the importance of the water issue to Egypt as it touches the core of Egyptian national security.
They also discussed Egypt’s ongoing preparations, both at the organizational and thematic levels, to host the upcoming COP27 Global Climate Change Summit. President El-Sisi stressed that Egypt attaches great importance to this summit for it to be an opportunity to build on the results of Glasgow Climate Change Conference last year and to have implementable results concerning issues of adaptation and financing to support the developing countries.
A tripartite memorandum of understanding was signed by Egypt, Israel and the EU to transport gas to Europe by using Egyptian infrastructure and facilitations during the meeting under the umbrella of the Forum.
The agreement was signed by Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El-Molla, EU Commission for Energy Kadri Simson and Israeli Minister of Energy Karine Elharrar during the ministerial meeting of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), in Cairo.
A Joint Press Conference
Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, said in a joint press conference after witnessing the signing ceremony that "With this agreement we will work on the stable delivery of natural gas to the EU from the East Med region. This will contribute to our EU energy security. And we are building infrastructure fit for renewables, i.e. the energy of the future."
Addressing the joint press conference with the Israeli and Greek energy ministers, the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tareq el Mulla pointed out that the signing of the memo represents a “very important step” that can be built upon to achieve further cooperation among the forum’s member states.
Mulla stressed that the memorandum is an umbrella and a framework for companies to sign more deals and contracts to carry out more projects.
He pointed out that under the memorandum of understanding, Egypt will be able to buy some of the gas transported to the EU or other countries through Egyptian infrastructure, while Europe will be supplied with Israeli gas through Egyptian liquefaction stations in Idku and Damietta.
He explained that the fuel will be converted to liquefied natural gas at processing plants in Egypt before being shipped to the EU.
He highlighted that Egypt already exports small quantities of gas to the EU, and it and Israel are expected to increase production and export in the coming years.
Meanwhile, Minister Elharrar said that Egypt and Israel have committed to exchange natural gas with Europe to help in facing the current energy crisis.
She said “Egypt and Israel ensure through their partnership better energy security for our European partners.”
Elharrar also explained that the agreement with the EU would continue for three years with an automatic two-year extension.