Founded: 1956 (EGPC); 2001 (Egas); 2004 (Ganope)

Chairman: Tarek el-Molla (EGPC); Taher Abdel Rahman (Egas); Sherif Ismail Mohamed (Ganope)

Tel: (+202) 2 706 5445

Web: www.petroleum.gov.eg

Background

Although not widely considered a major oil and gas player, Egypt is one of the biggest producers in the Middle East and North Africa region that is not part of oil producers group Opec. It is also the second-biggest producer of gas in Africa and the continent’s largest refiner.

All of the country’s oil exploration and production operations are overseen by Egypt General Petroleum Company (EGPC), while a separate state-run firm, Egypt Natural Gas Holding Company (Egas), created in 2001, is in charge of gas exploration and production. In 2003, the Oil Ministry set up the South Valley Development Company, since renamed Ganoub el-Wadi (Ganope), to promote oil and gas exploration and development activities in Upper Egypt.

EGPC was created in 1956 and was known at the time as the General Corporation of Petroleum Affairs. It was given its current name in 1976. The company ramped up oil production in the 1970s and 1980s, with output peaking at 920,000 barrels a day (b/d) in 1993-94. Since then, it has worked with international oil companies (IOCs) to stabilise output, using the addition of natural gas liquids to help maintain production levels. Egas has been the success story of the past decade, overseeing a huge increase in gas production from practically nothing in the early 2000s to 5.9 billion cubic feet a day in 2012.

Role in Egypt’s economy

The Egyptian economy is relatively diversified, as is the government’s revenue base. EGPC accounted for an estimated 2.5 per cent of economic output in Egypt in 2010 and 2011, while the money earned by the company represented about 12 per cent of government revenues. Nevertheless, the national oil companies (NOCs) play an important part in keeping the economy afloat. EGPC and Egas provide most of the oil and gas used to produce hugely subsidised fuel and electricity for Egyptians, which would be unaffordable to the government if the energy was imported. Oil and gas exports have also historically been the main source of the foreign currency used to stabilise the Egyptian pound and pay the country’s massive import bill. Subsidies place an enormous strain on EGPC, which oversees much of the country’s refining infrastructure and must organise fuel imports when necessary.

Role in the global economy

Egypt consumes much of the oil it produces, but its gas is exported, via the Arab gas pipeline and as liquefied natural gas, to markets in Europe and Asia. However, rising domestic gas consumption – mainly for electricity – is denting its status as a supplier to the international market.

Egypt’s NOCs play a significant role in the transportation of oil. The Suez-Mediterranean (Sumed) pipeline, a joint venture of EGPC, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and Kuwaiti investors, carries 2.35 million b/d of oil between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.

Strategy

Egypt’s political system is in flux, and although its NOCs were able to continue operations throughout 2011 and 2012, it is hard to know whether strategies adopted before the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak will be maintained.

Subsidiaries

EGPC oversees a number of joint-venture companies with IOCs and most of the country’s major refiners. Key subsidiaries include General Petroleum Company, Suez Oil Processing Company. Cairo Petroleum Refining Company, El-Nasr Petroleum Company, Alexandria Petroleum Company, Egyptian Petrochemicals Holding Company, Amerya Petroleum Refining Company and Assuit Petroleum Refining Company.