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East Med Forum Kicks Off in Cairo as Israeli Gas Starts Flowing to Egypt

East Med Forum Kicks Off in Cairo as Israeli Gas Starts Flowing to Egypt

Friday, 17 January, 2020 - 06:45
Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz (L), Greece's Energy Minister Kostis Hatzidakis (2nd-L), Egyptian Minister of Petroleum Tarek el-Molla (R) and Cypriot Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis (2nd-R) attend the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), in Cairo, on January 16, 2020. (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP)
Cairo - Asharq Al-Awsat

Seven countries have agreed on practical steps to set the foundation charter for the East Med Gas Forum, taking EMGF a step closer to becoming an international organization based in Cairo.

The move by Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Palestine and Egypt was made at a ministerial meeting held in Egypt Thursday.

On Jan. 14, 2019, the seven Mediterranean states agreed to set up the forum to create a regional gas market based on international law.

“The seven countries have implemented a clear roadmap that contributes to finishing the foundation framework for the official launch of the forum," Egyptian Petroleum Minister Tarek el-Molla said Thursday.

A petroleum ministry statement said the organization aims to "create a regional gas market that serves the interests of its members by ensuring supply and demand, optimizing resources development, rationalizing the cost of infrastructure, offering competitive prices and improving trade relations.”

France has asked to join the Forum, which aims to develop the region’s gas market, the petroleum ministry said.

It added that the United States has too asked to become a permanent observer.

Cypriot Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotryp said that during the forum, the World Bank would present a study on the options for Eastern Mediterranean gas exploration.

The signing of the East Med Gas Forum charter came as Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz and his Egyptian counterpart have announced the flow of natural gas from Israel to Egypt.

The Egyptian petroleum ministry said the step "represents an important development that serves the economic interests for both countries.”

The statement confirmed that the flow of natural gas to Egypt would also enable its export to Europe via liquefied natural gas terminals in the country.

Steinitz also announced “the start of the most significant cooperation ever between Israel and Egypt, in energy and the economy.”

Egypt plans to become a regional energy hub.

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