In capstone AmCham event US Energy Secretary Perry lauds Egypt’s energy renaissance.

An expanding partnership between Cairo and Washington attracting American know-how and investment to Egypt’s dynamic energy sector was on full display at the AmCham Egypt July 25 dinner honoring U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, and Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El Molla.

Making a commitment to ongoing strategic dialogue, the two senior officials signed a Memorandum of Understanding for enhanced energy sector cooperation at The Nile Ritz Carlton-Qahera Ballroom with Perry as the keynote speaker.

Perry drew on similarities between the recent push for energy independence in the US and Egypt’s own renewed commitments in the sector, saying “that may sound like an all-of-the-above energy strategy — talking about solar, coal, wind, gas and nuclear all collectively.”

“That is exactly what you have [in Egypt], which is the new American energy era we are going into, and it is because of people just like yourselves, here in Egypt, and in the US with some of the best energy companies in the world,” said Perry who was accompanied on his first trip here by Myron Brilliant, executive vice president of the US Chamber of Commerce.

El Molla characterized Perry’s visit and the MOU as evidence of a genuine economic and security partnership.

“Egypt and the United States have engaged in ongoing collective and collaborative effort to expand commercial ties, increase foreign direct investment and ensure stability in the region,” the minister told AmCham members and guests immediately before the signing ceremony. 

“We are also very welcoming and supportive of the United States initiative to participate in the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum as an observer and confident that this will leverage and strengthen its pivotal role in the global energy scene,” El Molla said. 

The visiting US Secretary of Energy congratulated his counterpart on the second ministerial meeting of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) which Cairo established in January this year.

The EMGF has successfully brought together various regional nations with shared energy interests to promote and facilitate ongoing cooperation in the energy field to exploit the region’s ample resources and simultaneously allow for a sustainable gas market developed by the five-member association. 

Perry touted the establishment of the EMGF and Minster El Molla’s efforts as “no small accomplishment, and a historic moment,” given the collection of diverse countries represented at the forum.   

In addition to El Molla and Perry, petroleum and energy ministers, Greece, Cyprus, Palestine, and Israel participated in the conference.

Earlier in the day, Perry met President Abdel-Fattah at Montazah Palace in Alexandria where he lauded Egyptian efforts to strengthen the energy sector at both the national and regional levels.

That meeting also attended by Minister El Molla and was held on the sidelines of the second ministerial session of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), hosted by Egypt with the attendance of the petroleum and energy ministers of its member states.

“The forum will be considered a community dedicated to achieving integration and economic gains for all its members as producers, consumers and transit countries,” El-Sisi told Perry. 

The president also said that the new grouping will ensure energy security in the Eastern Mediterranean region and stressed its openness to other countries and international institutions.

Egypt is the largest non-OPEC oil producer in Africa and the continent’s second-largest natural gas producer. 

The country also serves as a transit platform for the global energy system with the Suez Canal waterway and the Suez Mediterranean Sea pipeline moving gas and crude oil between Middle Eastern producers and global consumers. 

“It is also the continent’s largest consumer of energy,” said Paul Griffith, Vice President, Operations & Resource Development at Apache, a Houston based firm actively involved in the exploration and production of oil and gas in Egypt’s the Western Desert.

“Renewable energy can help Egypt not only meet its energy needs but also power sustainable growth and create jobs by achieving global climate and sustainable development objectives,” said Griffith, a member of the Chamber’s oil and gas committee. 

Griffith cited recent tenders attracting interest from an increasing number of American energy firms as Cairo looks to simultaneously ramp up oil and gas production alongside renewable power generation.

“US companies have been in the forefront of these developments and contribute to leveraging the opportunities that Egypt presents,” he added.

“We are able, as never before, to support our friends and allies around the world, including this great country as they chart their energy futures. We can offer support not only through our energy exports, but through our technology and expertise, and with the ongoing strategic energy dialogue we are going to take this engagement even further,” pledged Perry who thanked AmCham for its ongoing commitment to Egypt’s energy transformation.

Perry acknowledged AmCham Egypt for its “tremendous work, input, hard work, and record of achievement [which] makes the prospect of further energy cooperation between our nations so promising and exciting.”

El Molla characterized Perry’s visit and the MOU as evidence of a genuine economic and security partnership.

“Egypt and the United States have engaged in ongoing collective and collaborative effort to expand commercial ties, increase foreign direct investment, and ensure stability in the region.”

 “We are also very welcoming and supportive of the United States initiative to participate in the EM G F as an observer and confident that this will leverage and strengthen the forum’s pivotal role in the global energy scene,” ElMola added. 

“If you dig into the details, we at Am Cham’s Oil and Gas Committee were looking ahead to define more areas of cooperation even before the signing of the MOU,” explained Dr. Hesham El Amrousy, Chairman and Managing Director of ExxonMobil Egypt. 

“Based on our knowledge and deep insights into the Egyptian business environment and sector performance, we spent considerable time amongst ourselves as a team to identify what is needed in light of the modernization strategy,” El Amrousy said. 

The Oil and Gas Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt has developed a leadership program for promising managers within the ministry of petroleum, Egyptian, and multinational companies working in the field. 

“We’ve had good ongoing conversations with the modernization team at the ministry and with US Department of Energy leaders on how to advance sector performance because we know both worlds and what this cooperation could actually look like.”