Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El-Molla told Reuters today, Wednesday, that Egypt did not export any quantities of liquefied natural gas in June due to seasonal factors, including high domestic consumption, adding that he expects exports to resume this month.
Trade sources told Reuters that they believed the halt in exports in June was a result of the decline in domestic production.
But El-Molla said there was no “special reason” and added that high summer temperatures boost demand for gas for cooling purposes.
“The market prices are very low… (besides) we do not usually export (gas) during the summer due to the high domestic demand due to the hot weather,” Al-Mulla said on the sidelines of a conference for the oil and gas industry.
Egypt, the largest Arab country in terms of population, began importing gas from Israel in 2020 as part of its endeavor to become an energy center in the region, where it can, thanks to its strategic location, supply domestic and Israeli gas after liquefying it to the countries of the Middle East, Africa and Europe.
Last year, Egypt signed a framework agreement with the European Union and Israel to expand gas exports, at a time when Europe was seeking to find alternatives to Russian gas after the outbreak of the Ukrainian war.
Egypt turned from a net importer of gas to an exporter in late 2018, thanks to the rapid growth in its supplies, supported by the discovery of the largest gas field in the Mediterranean.
Egyptian natural gas exports hit a record high of 8 million tons in 2022.
It is expected that exports this year will reach 7.5 million tons, with the majority going to Europe and Turkey and the rest to Asian markets.
The Egyptian LNG export terminals on the Mediterranean coast are capable of shipping 12 million tons annually, a number the country seeks to reach in 2025 and would place it in the ranks of major LNG exporters.