CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt is looking to ramp up petroleum production over the next two years, aiming to reduce fuel imports to about 10 percent of total consumption from 30 percent currently, media quoted Oil Minister Tarek El Molla as saying.
Once an energy exporter, Egypt has turned into a net importer in recent years, squeezed by declining production and increasing consumption.
Egypt has been trying to reverse that trend, speeding up production of oil and gas at recent discoveries. Large natural gas finds are expected to make Cairo self-sufficient in gas by the end of 2018, and it is now looking to make similar progress in petroleum.
“The Ministry of Petroleum has put forward a plan ... to increase the country’s production of petroleum products and reduce its reliance on imports to 10 percent of total consumption by 2019,” Molla said in remarks published in financial newspaper Al-Borsa on Sunday.
Molla said Egypt consumes 6.8 million tonnes of fuel per month.
The country is in talks with its liquefied natural gas (LNG) suppliers to defer contracted shipments this year and aims to cut back on purchases in 2018, as surging domestic gas production pushes back demand for costly foreign imports.
Reporting by Ehab Farouk; Writing Nadine Awadalla; Editing by Susan Fenton