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Discovery of Gas Field Gives Egypt New Business Influence in Region

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President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi wants his country to tap into natural gas that could even help build relations with Israel because of the business opportunities, according to the New York Times. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi wants his country to tap into natural gas that could even help build relations with Israel because of the business opportunities, according to the New York Times.

The country is trying to change the way it looks at energy as Egypt hopes that exploring natural gas options could make it a more powerful country so that it would be able to have some respectability among other nations. The New York Times reports that the time is good now for Egypt to take advantage of shipping improvements of liquefied gas that make it possible to operate on a global level if there is natural gas to tap into for commercial purposes. Under President Barack Obama, the United States started exporting much more energy once it dramatically increased natural gas production, despite the negative impacts on the environment as climate change becomes a worse and worse problem.

Countries like Russia that are petrol states would not fare well if Egypt starts to get in on the energy business with natural gas. Russia has to keep cutting its prices so that it can stay competitive, leading to dwindling returns, the New York Times reports. Some European countries have already been trying to get away from Russia, even though that means a Faustian-like bargain by still dealing with countries with repressive human rights and governments.

“We have scored a goal,” President Sisi said last year in one of his propagandistic speeches. “I’ve been dreaming about it for four years, that we become a regional hub for energy.”

Claudio Descalzi, chief executive of Eni, said that “Egypt is one of the best places, along with Cyprus and Israel, to drill not only because of the discoveries but because it is close to Europe and Europe is increasing its gas use.” Eni is a large energy company based in Italy that has interests in Egypt. Descalzi believes the country “has all the ingredients to make it successful.”

Egypt and Israel were already taking on the Islamic State militants in Sinai, despite the joint effort not being common knowledge. The New York Times reports that the two countries are now trying to also work together on energy. There was already a $15 billion offshore gas shipping deal made with Israeli oil company Delek Drilling and Noble Energy of Houston and Egypt. There could also be a revived pipeline that would run between the two nations for the first time in about seven years.

Israel’s energy minister, Yuval Steinitz said in an interview that he thinks “the fact that Israeli natural gas will be exported to Europe via Egypt facilities, the fact that we are speaking to each other” will “make this an access for peace.”

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