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of the energy sector have allowed us to deliver a comprehensive package
of solutions, which has been critical to our success. This is something very
few companies are able to do.” Ghaly is also deeply pleased that this
project will act as a flagship project globally. “We benefited from full support from the Egyptian government … what Siemens has built in this
country will stand as a showcase project for many years to come.”
STAKING OUT A CLAIM AS A
REGIONAL ENERGY HUB
The raison d’être of the Modernization Program is to realize Egypt’s dormant
potential as an energy hub drawing in the surrounding Eastern Mediterranean countries. Despite questions about whether the new Zohr and West
Nile Delta developments will be sufficient to satiate Egypt’s domestic
appetite, Minister El Molla is adamant on the feasibility of this goal. “It is
not just about exporting our products. The hub would be a means of
trading and integration with our neighboring countries,” he clarifies.
Khaled AbuBakr, chairman of the Egyptian Gas Association, concurs.
“Becoming a gas hub does not necessarily mean we have to own all the
gas … We are able to cultivate this positioning as a hub because we have
the necessary infrastructure and the means to seamlessly facilitate trade
between Eastern and Western markets.” There is certainly ample gas in
the region. What is more critical, he highlights, are the resources Egypt
can offer: gas processing facilities, LNG trains, pipeline networks, a national
grid and transport links like the Suez Canal, which was expanded in a
massive USD 8 billion project opened by President Sisi in 2015.
This is no new dream for Egypt, which has sat at
the crossroads of global trade links for millennia - and
there are few industries more global than oil and gas.
As a case in point, ExxonMobil Egypt has already seen
strong growth from using Egypt as an export hub for
its lubricants. As Hesham El Amroussy, chairman and
managing director, details, “we operate two state-of-the-art lubricant manufacturing plants, one in Alexandria and another in Cairo, and we use these plants not
only to support the local market but to export all over
the world to over 45 countries [because]we have world-class technology
here in Egypt and we are geographically positioned well to supply Africa,
Europe as well as the Far East.” To his mind, “Egypt is naturally positioned
to become an energy hub, a much larger manufacturing and trading
center with a regional outreach.” This is why ExxonMobil has been operating in Egypt since 1902 without interruption.
Egypt needs to look no further than home to witness an example of
successful regional cooperation. The Suez-Mediterranean (SUMED)
pipelines, 50 percent owned by EGPC with the rest shared among the
NOCs of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi and Qatar, transports 120