The Eighth Ministerial Meeting of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF)
Wednesday، 07 December 2022 - 12:00 AM
The Eighth Ministerial Meeting of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) took place on December 7th, 2022, in Cairo – The Arab Republic of Egypt – under the Presidency of H.E Natasa Pilides – Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Cyprus, as the President of the EMGF Ministerial Meeting for the year 2022.
The Meeting was attended by the Egyptian, Cypriot, French, Greek, Israeli, Italian, Jordanian and Palestinian Ministers of Energy and Heads of Delegations of the EMGF Members. The United States of America, the European Union and the World Bank attended as Observers.
It started with the esteemed Ministers and Heads of Delegations emphasizing once more the important role of the EMGF amid the current unprecedented global energy market turbulences, where the EMGF has proved through its Members, Observers and other bodies that it can contribute to global energy security while conscious of global climate goals.
In his opening speech, El Molla stated that the current events and the global energy situation demonstrated the importance of the proactive step taken by establishing the EMGF. The forum presented an important initiative and study in the field of reducing emissions and gas industry’s decarbonization for the first time during the COP27 climate summit. It also provided an important aspect of the global energy supply during the current period, which is witnessing many challenges.
For her part, Pilides, the chairperson of the current session of the Forum, announced the handover of the presidency of the new session of the forum in 2023 to Egypt, expressing her appreciation for the Egyptian support during the Cypriot presidency of the forum and the efforts made to achieve its goals, wishing success to El Molla during his tenure as chairman of the forum for the year 2023.
Pilides also reviewed the achievements of the forum and its influential activities during the year 2022, and the presentation of important studies, especially with regard to energy transition and carbon removal.
Osama Mobarez, the Secretary General of the Forum, stated that the forum focused during the year 2022 on achieving two main goals, which are energy security and the energy transition, and that the challenges that arose during this year pushed the forum for more cooperation and dialogue with all parties to achieve common interests for all.
Meanwhile, Zafer Milhem, Chairman of the Palestinian Energy and Natural Resources Authority, expressed the appreciation of the Palestinian president and government for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi for the great support and efforts made regarding the Gaza Marine gas field and the progress made regarding its development in cooperation with the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) and the important agreements signed between the parties, highlighting the importance of ensuring Palestine’s right to manage and develop its resources like other countries, which was the goal of Palestine to join the forum.
Commenting on the speech, El Molla pointed out that the start of work in developing the Gaza Marine gas field through the signing of an Egyptian-Palestinian memorandum of understanding (MoU) is one of the impressive results of the EMGF, as this step took place under the auspices of the forum, which highlights its extreme importance.
The heads of the participating delegations emphasized in their speeches the vital role of the forum and its adoption of fair goals, including support for the rights of countries to exploit their resources, the role of the forum in securing part of the global energy supply, its openness to exploiting new and renewable energies, increasing its contribution to the global energy mix, and presenting important initiatives and studies in the field of reducing emissions.
The Meeting reflected on the EMGF achievements of the current year, including finalization and endorsement of the EMGF Long Term Strategy containing the EMGF’s Mission, Vision, with a comprehensive Implementation Plan to achieve the Forum’s Objectives. Establishing Partnerships with key Industry Stakeholders including other Global Organizations. Further private sector engagement in the Forum’s activities with the Gas Industry Advisory Committee (GIAC) currently comprising 36 Members. In addition to the Kick-off of the Regulatory Authorities Advisory Committee (RAAC) activities to align on the different Regulatory Frameworks of the Member Countries, to make the necessary coordination leading to the formation of a regional market.
The Meeting also discussed the outcomes of several important international energy events – in which the EMGF participated- that took place during the past few months shaping the global energy scene including the EMGF Energy Transition Conference organized by the Republic of Cyprus, in the framework of the EMGF Presidency for 2022, and leading to the COP27 which took place earlier last month in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, witnessing the announcement of the EMGF Natural Gas Decarbonization Initiative for the region.
The COP27 Decarbonization Day held for the first time in the history of COP meetings as part of the conference Thematic Days proved to be a valuable window engaging all stakeholders including Governments, Private Sector, International Organizations and Financial Institutions to showcase efforts, commitments and enablers for accelerating decarbonization in the hard to abate industries.
The Ministerial Meeting further welcomed “The EMGF Natural Gas Decarbonization in the East Mediterranean Region” Report while mandating the Executive Board to explore the possible implementation pathway for this initiative. The Report defines the current baseline and future direction for the EMGF as a leading model to reach the ambitious goal of decarbonizing the East Med Gas. It further emphasizes the successful coordination between the different industry stakeholders including Governments, Companies and the GIAC Members.
Additionally, the EMGF’s Activities Progress update was presented including a study titled “The Role and Opportunity for East Med Gas in a Rapidly Evolving Global and European Gas Markets” by S&P Global. The study was then discussed and endorsed by the Forum’s Members.
The Ministerial Meeting approved the formation of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee, a proposal of the Republic of Cyprus in the framework of the Cyprus’ 2022 Presidency, that will provide the necessary scientific and technical expertise to the EMGF’s Member Countries, mobilising knowledge from institutions, primarily on the decarbonisation of the energy sector and climate change mitigation.
The Gas Industry Advisory Committee (GIAC) held their 7th Meeting on the sidelines of the 8th Ministerial Meeting, where they presented an update on the activities that took place throughout the past year including studies that contributed to Energy Security, Energy Transition and Decarbonization efforts of the Forum.
With the Meeting being the last Ministerial Meeting in 2022, His Excellency Tarek El Molla – Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources of the Arab Republic of Egypt was appointed as the President of the Ministerial Meeting for the year 2023, and His Excellency Mr. Kostas Skrekas, the Minister of Environment and Energy of Greece, as the Alternate President. Moreover, the Egyptian Executive Board Member representing the Arab Republic of Egypt was appointed as Executive Board Chairman for the same year.
Members and Observers reaffirmed their determination to continue cooperating towards achieving the EMGF objectives, while fully respecting the rights of its Members over their natural resources in accordance with international law and the goals of the Paris Agreement.
The Esteemed Ministers and Heads of Delegations agreed to convene for the next Ministerial Meeting in the EMGF’s Headquarters in Cairo during July 2023.
At the close, the Ministers and Heads of Delegations expressed recognition to Her Excellency Natasa Pilides, Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Cyprus for her efforts exerted in her role as the President of the Ministerial Meeting and His Excellency Tarek El Molla, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources of the Arab Republic of Egypt, for hosting the Forum and the Meeting.
They also expressed their deep appreciation to the Arab Republic of Egypt under the leadership of His Excellency President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi for providing utmost support to the forum since its inception resulting in significant achievements.