Egypt to end state mo­nop­oly of nat­u­ral gas mar­ket

Muscat Daily - - BUSINESS -

Cairo, Egypt - Egypt is open­ing the door to pri­vate par­tic­i­pa­tion in its nat­u­ral gas sec­tor, mov­ing to end the state’s mo­nop­oly as it pushes ahead with re­forms meant to en­cour­age in­vest­ment and re­vive the econ­omy.

The new law signed by Pres­i­dent Ab­del Fat­tah el Sissi sets up a nat­u­ral gas reg­u­la­tory author­ity charged with li­cens­ing and de­vis­ing a plan to open the gas mar­ket to com­pe­ti­tion. It also al­lows for the even­tual im­port of nat­u­ral gas by pri­vate com­pa­nies - a move that could help end sup­ply short­ages that have ham­pered busi­nesses.

The mea­sure, which had been more than two years in the mak­ing, is the gov­ern­ment’s lat­est push to spur in­vest­ment in the econ­omy. Au­thor­i­ties have in­sti­tuted sweep­ing re­forms that have in­cluded float­ing the cur­rency, sharp sub­sidy cuts and en­act­ing leg­is­la­tion aimed at draw­ing in for­eign money.

The new leg­is­la­tion also ad­vances Egypt’s ob­jec­tive to achieve en­ergy self-suf­fi­ciency by 2019, largely through even­tual out­put from the gi­ant Zohr nat­u­ral gas field.

The law would al­low the pri­vate sec­tor to di­rectly ship, trans­port, store, mar­ket and trade nat­u­ral gas us­ing the pipe­line and net­work in­fra­struc­ture. Its ex­ec­u­tive reg­u­la­tions are to be is­sued within six months of the leg­is­la­tion’s en­act­ment, ac­cord­ing to the Of­fi­cial Gazette.

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