The formation of the holding company is part of the reorganisation of the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC). The process has also entailed setting up the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company. EGPC previously held sway over the oil, gas and petrochemicals sectors, but is now focused exclusively on oil.

Shaarawi has since late 1999 been chairman of EGPC affiliate Petrojet, which specialises in oil and gas construction work. Before that he headed Engineering for the Petroleum & Process Industries (Enppi). His deputy at the holding company will be Safwat Bidair, chairman of Sidi Krier Petrochemical Company (Sidpec), Egypt’s first producer of ethylene and polyethylene.

The masterplan envisages the establishment of 15 petrochemical complexes around the country over the next 20 years, comprising 24 individual projects producing a total of 15 million tonnes a year.