Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi attended on Sunday the inauguration of the expansions of MOPCO factory for fertilizers in Damietta governorate.
Prime Minister Sherif Ismail as well as a number of ministers were present at the opening ceremony.
The ceremony began with recitation of verses of the holy Quran.
Petroleum Minister Tarek el Mullah gave a brief presentation on the strategy of the petroleum sector and what has been achieved over the past two years.
He said the ministry's strategy is based on short and long-term plans that were drafted in coordination with the electricity ministry and other bodies concerned.
Among the important goals of this strategy is to secure the country's needs of petroleum and gas products, increase uses of natural gas and turn Egypt into a regional energy hub, the minister said.
The petroleum minister said the mechanism regulating the petroleum and gas industry in Egypt starts by holding international tenders, partnering with other sides, starting excavation and exploration then comes the stages of production and refining.
"In case we have a surplus, it is being exported abroad and in case the market needed more products, we start importing them from abroad," Mullah said.
Asked about ways of securing the country's needs of petroleum and natural gas, the minister said the ministry seeks to increase excavation activities to increase production and reserves, accelerate development projects of petroleum finds, diversify sources of providing the country's needs of petroleum and gas and developing oil refining labs.
The petroleum minister said 66 petroleum agreements were signed over the past two years, including 50 new ones and 16 amendments to previously-signed deals.
Under these agreements, the other partner will spend at least 14.3 billion dollars on excavations, Mullah said.
The agreements follow a three-year hiatus that began in 2011 with no agreements being signed in the petroleum and gas domains till 2013.
"We have now become available on the world arena with three annual tenders being held for the petroleum sector," he added.
He called for accelerating the implementation of development projects of oil and gas finds to secure the country's needs of petroleum and gas products.
Addressing the petroleum minister, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi underlined the importance of pointing out to Egyptians the country's annual needs of petroleum and gas products and their financial costs.
"We need to tell the people that gains of stability are very good. We stopped for three years but now we have started to move forward after relative, not full, stability, has been achieved," he said.
The petroleum minister continued his speech by stressing that the ministry has succeeded in keeping production rates of crude oil over the past five years through carrying out more projects, digging wells in the Suez Gulf and the eastern and western deserts with annual investments of 1.5 billion dollars.
Over the past two years, 18 projects were carried out to develop natural gas fields at investments of 4.5 billion dollars and with the production of 1.7 billion cubic feet.
Development of crude oil and gas fields is financed by foreign partner without any burdens on state budget, the minister noted.
Speaking about Zohr gas find, the petroleum minister said it was discovered by Italy’s ENI energy company one year and a half after an excavation agreement was signed in the Mediterranean off the Egyptian coast.
The field is located in the Shorouk concession, a concession with an area of 3,765 square kilometers which was won by Eni in 2013.
"Six months after Zohr field discovery, agreements were signed to develop it. And now after 24 months since the find was announced, production from this field will start," the minister said.
Out of the six wells targeted in the first stage of Zohr field development plan, three ones were dug and the fourth one is underway, he added.
It is believed to be the largest ever natural gas find in the Mediterranean Sea surpassing the nearby Leviathan gas field.
As for North Alexandria gas fields, the petroleum minister said the project includes five fields with estimated production of 490 million cubic feet to rise to 1.25 billion gradually.
Mullah said the total investment cost of the project is 11 billion dollars.
Production from North Alexandria fields was scheduled to be released into markets in 2014 but due to instability that hit Egypt in 2011, work in the field was suspended till 2015.
So the country faced a power crisis because of declining gas supplies, forcing the ministry to import to fill the gap, he said.
"We managed to import natural gas to secure power needs of this summer and the previous one but after paying a three-billion-dollar bill annually and all that because of the delay in this big project," the minister said.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said Egyptians' awareness is growing day after day and they became totally aware of the dangers besetting their country.
"We have suffered a lot from instability and lack of security and we see how the delay in the implementation of one project cost the country billions," he said.
Continuing his talk about energy projects, Petroleum Minister Tarek el Mullah said Nooros field, located in northeastern Delta, was discovered in July of 2015.
Daily production of the field hits 320 million cubic feet so far and is expected to increase to 700 by the end of the year, he added.
Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Wealth Tareq el Mullah pointed out that Egypt managed to diversify the resources of getting its needs of crude oil and gas along with maximizing its local production, a matter which helped it enter into strategic consortium and clinch contracts with companies, such as Kuwait Energy in Iraq and Dragon.
Egypt's percentage in the consortium with Kuwait Energy and Dragon reached 10 percent, the minister said, adding that production has already started.
The Ministry signed contracts for the first time with companies outside Egypt in order to find out new resources for the national income and provide opportunities for the national companies to work abroad and increase revenues.
As per the gas imports, Mullah said the Ministry has been exporting diesel oil, gasoline and mazut along time ago. However, when the nature gas problem escalated, the minister said, several measures have been taken to prepare the harbors to receive the liquefied gas and pump it into the national grid.
As per the expansion in the refineries, Mullah said the Ministry has worked on upgrading oil refineries and adding new units to extract high quality mazut.
Upon finishing such projects, the minister said, 90 percent of the country's local needs will be reached in addition to luring new investments from Arab and international companies to such projects.
Mullah said the new expansions will add 5.2 percent to the current diesel production of 7.6 percent. The same applies to the gasoline production that will be increased by 50 percent and the butane gas will be upped by half a million tons so as the current energy production would increase by 60 percent, he added.
The total investments in the main products of diesel, gasoline and jet fuel hit dlrs 307 billion, the minister said, noting that contributors to the investments are the Petroleum Authority and the Arab Refining Company. Other expansion projects are being carried out in Assiut and in Medior's Refinery in Alexandria.
As per the expansion of infrastructure, the minister said a plan has been outlined to construct pipelines to carry crude oil and other products, noting that gas pipelines have been built along 250 kilometers with total investments of EGP 1.9 billion along with power stations.
Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Wealth Tareq el Mullah pointed out to a set of pipelines carrying crude oil and other petroleum products which extend some 547 kilometers at total investments of EGP 2.6 billion to increase delivery movement of the oil products.
As per the storage projects, the minister said the Ministry is working to increase the storage capacity of crude oil and other products, upgrade the harbors and develop the infrastructure in a bid to turn Egypt into a regional hub for energy.
A plan has been devised to set up a new quay and storage tanks for gas, diesel, butane gas and mazut.
Concerning the projects to transform power station to operate with nature gas, the minister said the Ministry of Petroleum is coordinating with the Ministry of Electricity to carry out the targeted plans whether at the ordinary stations or the combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power stations at total investments of EGP 4 billion. Siemens projects will also cost EGP 3 billion, he added.
Regarding the timetable of such projects, the minister noted that the implementation rates of three power stations; the New Administrative Capital, Borolos and Beni Suef have exceeded 75 percent.
As per the butane gas, the minister attributed the problem of lack of butane gas at the market to the shortage in storage tanks at the harbors, noting that the infrastructure of such harbors would be upgraded to receive necessary amounts of butane gas and therefore contracts could be clinched with new exporters.
President Sisi explained that Prime Minister Sherif Ismail has worked out a plan to solve the butane gas shortage in a period of six to eight months.
The cost of solving the butane gas crisis hit EGP 148 million away from the amounts of butane that have been exported at the current phase and represent a burden on the state's budget, the minister said.
Over the period from April 2015 to April 2016, the state paid a bill of dlrs 3.5 billion as regards the energy system, the minister explained.
Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Wealth Tareq el Mullah said that the Electricity Ministry is consuming one third of Egypt's production of petroleum products and natural gas every month.
Egypt's consumption of petroleum products and natural gas amounted to 124 billion pounds during the period from July 2015 and March 2016, equivalent to 211 billion pounds at world prices and 88 billion pounds at subsidized prices, he said.
So far, 7.5 housing units have been supplied with natural gas in all governorates, except for the New Valley, Molla noted.
The petroleum minister noted that the total amount of investments in the fields of petrochemicals, infrastructure and laboratory development hit 80 billion dollars in the past period.
"A national plan was set in 2001 to develop the field of petrochemicals," he said, adding that six projects were opened during this period to produce three million tons of petrochemicals annually.
Mullah said MOPCO factory is the seventh project to be opened by President Sisi, stressing that Egypt's production of urea will increase to two million tons after the expansion of the factory.
The MOPCO project will contribute to increasing the area of agricultural lands in Egypt and will provide more job opportunities for the youth, he noted.
Environment Minister Khalid Fahmy said that the Egyptian state plans integrating the environmental dimension in all development projects.
The environmental dimension is not a constraint to economic development and economic development is not necessarily affecting the environment negatively, he added.
This delicate relationship prompts us to act as one working group with all ministries and bodies concerned, the minister said
All projects should be designed according to environmental assessment studies, he added.
The minister said that environmental agreements were issued for the expansions of MOPCO factory for fertilizers in Damietta governorate after being reviewed by Egypt's scientific research centers and achieving 18 environmental requirements that cover all environmental areas.
Several inspection tours were paid to the factory to make sure that all environmental requirements are achieved, he added.
Fahmy said a recycling plant was established to deal with MOPCO factory's garbage.
Minister Fahmy said two projects were presented by the private sector on the safe disposal of medical wastes.
"A treatment plant was also established to recycle liquid wastes produced by MOPCO factory to ensure the environment preservation," he noted.
At the end of the ceremony, President Sisi said he will not accept the establishment of any project that could endanger the lives of Egyptians.
He also urged Egyptian people to ignore false news about the bad effects of these national projects.
Assuring Damietta residents, Sisi said the highest environmental requirements were taken into consideration during the establishment of the factory.