Egypt to end state monopoly of natural gas market
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.