Egypt will import gas for three to four years, according to Mohamed Salah ElSobki, the executive chairman of Egypt’s New & Renewable Energy Authority.

Speaking at a conference in Abu Dhabi, ElSobki said increases in domestic hydrocarbons production and more renewables projects would reduce the need for imported liquefied natural gas (LNG).

He added that unconventional gas and oil may prove to be a key part of the country’s future energy mix.

“Exploring unconventional [resources] and shale gas is a must for Egypt,” said ElSobki.

UK/Dutch Shell and US oil company Apache are undertaking a fracking pilot scheme in the country that is set to take between two and three years to complete.

The contract was signed in December 2014 and will see Apache and Shell invest $30m-$40m in the project, according to Egypt’s Petroleum Ministry.

Earlier this month, Khaled Abdel Badie, chairman of Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (Egas), announced four companies had won contracts to import LNG over a two-year period.

These firms are thought to be Dutch-owned Vitol, Hong Kong-based Nobel Group, Dutch commodity trading company Trafigura and UK oil and gas company BP.

Egypt also has agreed a deal with Algeria to import six shipments of LNG between Apil and September this year.

The contract between the two countries was signed in December 2014.

Follow Wil Crisp on Twitter: @bilgribs