New members of East Med Gas Forum show ‘strength’ of deal: Egypt oil minister

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Official requests from France to become a member, and the US to join as an official observer, to the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) agreement shows “the strength and the depth of seriousness” to the commitment, Egyptian oil minister Tarek el-Molla said on Tuesday.

Signed last week, the EMGF deal forms a regional gas market aiming to cut infrastructure costs, and offer competitive prices for its members. Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan and the West Bank all joined Egypt as founding members in an effort to transform the Eastern Mediterranean region into a major energy hub.


The organization will play a role “in coordinating [for] our mutual benefit for the founding countries,” El-Molla said in an interview on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum 2020 in Davos.

“We are there to complement each other,” the minister said. “We’re not there for competition.”

The EMGF comes as tensions over east Mediterranean hydrocarbons heat up. Turkey and Libya’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord signed a controversial maritime zone accord in November, which Turkey says grants it economic rights to a large part of the eastern Mediterranean.

The EU issued a warning to Turkey on Sunday, urging the country to cease plans to drill for oil and gas around Cyprus and the eastern Mediterranean, branding the exploration as “illegal.”

Cyprus has since accused Turkey of becoming a “pirate state” when it ignored the EU’s warning and begun oil and gas operations off the Cypriot coast.

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