Egypt - Country Commercial Guide
Oil and Gas Equipment

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2020-09-15

Overview

Oil and gas is one of the most dynamic sectors in Egypt. Hydrocarbon production is by far the largest single industrial activity in the country, representing around 15 percent of total GDP in 2019 and 31 percent of foreign direct investment (FDI).

Egypt has significant energy resources, both in traditional fossil fuels and in renewable energy. The country’s proven hydrocarbon reserves stood at 3.3 billion barrels of oil and 77.2 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas at the end of 2018. The Egyptian government encourages international oil companies (IOC) to participate in the oil and gas sector. More than fifty IOCs are currently operating in the country. Egypt hopes to achieve self-sufficiency in petroleum products by 2022.

Egypt plays a vital role in international energy markets through the Suez Canal and the Suez-Mediterranean (SUMED) pipeline. Expanded in 2015, the Suez Canal is an important transit route for oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments travelling southbound from North Africa, Europe and North America to Asia. Fees collected from the operation of these two transit points are significant sources of revenue for the Egyptian government.

Egypt plans to invest around USD 38 billion developing its petrochemicals sector over the next four years. The petrochemical sector represents about 12 percent of industrial production and generates revenues totaling USD 7 billion, equivalent to nearly 3 percent of GDP. Egypt has the largest refinery capacity in Africa at a nominal rate of 840,000 barrels per day (bpd), although it operates well below this capacity, with 562,000 bpd processed in 2019. Currently, the government is updating and expanding existing refineries, and a new private-sector refinery is also set to begin production.

The petroleum industry in Egypt is managed by the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, under which five state-owned companies operate. 

  • The Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC)
  • The Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS)
  • The Egyptian Petrochemicals Holding Company (ECHEM)
  • The Ganoub El-Wadi Holding Company (GANOPE)
  • The Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority (EMRA)

Since the 1990s, the Egyptian government has enacted laws aimed at attracting international, regional and domestic investment. These laws seek to address regulations and procedures that hinder production and inward facilitated investment.

One of the challenges that continues to hamper international investors in Egypt’s oil and gas sector is the long history of delayed payments from EGPC. While the government has made efforts to pay out the remaining backlog of arrears to IOCs to encourage more foreign partners to invest in exploration and development activities, it continues to lag in making payments. The government reduced arrears to USD 1.2 billion from USD 6.3 billion, as of June 2018, and is planning to repay all remaining arrears by the end of 2020.

The Egypt Petroleum Show (EGYPS), in its fourth year, is the largest oil and gas exhibition in North Africa and the Mediterranean region. It allows Egypt to showcase the development and modernization of its oil and gas sector and its emergence as a regional energy hub, both part of its sustainable development strategy for 2030. EGYPS hosts hundreds of exhibitors, including major international oil and gas companies and dozens of country pavilions under one roof. In 2020, the show attracted more than 20 U.S. companies as exhibitors and conference participants. Senior representatives from the U.S. Departments of Energy and State, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce participated. 

Egypt signed around 83 oil and gas exploration deals with IOCs between November 2013 and February 2020, worth about USD 15.5 billion. It also offered signing bonuses of more than USD 1 billion for the drilling of 319 wells. In 2020, nine petroleum agreements have been signed for oil and natural gas exploration in the Mediterranean, Red Sea and Western Desert, with a minimum investment of around USD 452.3 million.  

U.S. energy giants like ExxonMobil and Chevron entered Egypt’s dynamic upstream sector in 2019 and won additional concessions in early 2020.

Egyptian government investment in natural gas expanded by 25 percent in FY 2017, adding to an increase of 33 percent from the previous fiscal year. Crude oil projects did not see a similar favorable return on investment, but several multinational firms announced commitments to increase their investment to total USD 10 billion in fiscal year 2018/2019.

In support of its ambitions to become a regional energy hub, Egypt launched the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) in January 2019. The seven founding members – Egypt, Israel, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority – met in January 2020 to initial the EMGF’s draft charter, bringing it one step closer to becoming an official international organization. In addition, Egypt is capitalizing on its strategic location, well-developed energy infrastructure, and large gas reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean, including its Zohr field, to consolidate its position as a regional energy hub. In a deal estimated at USD 15 billion, a consortium of Houston-based Noble Energy, Israel’s Delek Drilling, and Egypt’s Dolphinus Holdings Ltd started pumping natural gas from the Tamar and Leviathan fields in Israel to Egypt in early 2020. In addition, Egypt has concluded an intergovernmental agreement with Cyprus to build a subsea pipeline between the two countries. Egypt plans to use imported gas for domestic use and re-export to global markets through its two LNG facilities on the Mediterranean coast. 

In December 2017, Egypt’s Zohr gas field started production. With an estimated reserve of 30 tcf, the Zohr field is the largest gas discovery in the Mediterranean to date. In August 2019, the processing capacity of Zohr reached over 2.7 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd), five months ahead of schedule. There is also the Nooros Gas Field in the Nile Delta that produces 32 million cubic meters per day.  Atoll is another gas field in the East Delta that produces 350 million cubic meters per day and 10,000 barrels of condensate.

In December 2019, a new oil and gas well was discovered in the Abu Senan area of the Western Desert. This well is expected to produce around 4,000 barrels of crude oil per day, as well as 10 million cubic meters per day of gas.

Leading Sub-Sectors

  • Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Technology and Peripherals
  • Drilling Rigs and Related Equipment and Accessories
  • Hi-tech Testing and Measuring Equipment
  • Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Related Technology
  • Natural Gas Vehicles (NGV) Technology and Peripherals

Opportunities

In 2016, the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources announced a five-year modernization plan for the oil and gas sector. The objective is to design and implement a program to enhance the contribution of the sector to the economic growth of the country and to be a leader that other sectors can follow. This modernization plan is divided into seven different programs: Investment Attraction, Sector Structural Reform, HR Management, Downstream Performance, Upstream Performance, Hub Strategy, and Decision Support and Data Flow.

Downstream Performance and Energy Efficiency

More than 20 projects have been identified to improve their performance. The ministry has started feasibility studies for around six projects; they are expected to generate more than USD 120 million in savings. Initiatives to reduce energy consumption identified low-cost opportunities, such as waste heat recovery and flare gas recovery.

Upstream Performance

Increase oil and gas production, expand proven reserves, and improve recovery rates and cost performance.

Oil and Gas Hub Strategy

Expand Egypt’s role in the regional energy sector.

Final hub strategy expected to be shared with the public in 2020.

Decision Support and Data Flow

Increase digitalization of reporting and decision-making processes across the sector.

Competitive Landscape

There is competition, and the procurement system is done through open tenders. Decision makers evaluate proposals according to their technical and commercial merits.

Best Prospects for U.S. Exporters

There are opportunities for U.S. companies in exploration activities, services, sub-contracting, procurement and engineering services, as well as in the petrochemical sector.

Market Entry

The Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources is open for suggestions and recommendations, new technologies and processes.

Tenders: The ministry will announce tenders if they are requesting consultants for feasibility studies, EPCs, new concessions, upgrade of refineries, licensing for petrochemicals, and other related projects. The ministry may also award concessions directly. 

Technical Barriers & Tariffs

Egypt has a free trade agreement with Europe, which makes products from European suppliers very competitive as there are no customs applied. Higher customs fees and shipping costs can put American products at a disadvantage.

Procurement & Tenders

Tenders are announced on the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources website.
 

Upcoming Trade Events:

  • Mediterranean Offshore Conference (MOC)
    October 13-15, 2020
  • Egyptian Petroleum Sector Energy Efficiency Conference (EPEEC)
    December 2020 (TBC)
  • EGYPS Petroleum Show 2021
    Feb 9-11, 2021

Best Prospects:

  • Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Technology and Peripherals
  • Drilling Rigs and Related Equipment and Accessories
  • Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Related Technology
  • Natural Gas Vehicles (NGV) Technology and Peripherals
  • Exploration activities
  • Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC)
  • Petrochemical projects
  • Refinery upgrades
  • Energy efficiency
  • Port upgrades
  • HSE
  • Advanced technologies in enhancing oil recovery
  • Mining
     

Web Resources

Commercial Specialist in charge of the oil and gas sector: Dina Bissada