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France joins the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum

The EMGF was officially established in January 2020 in Cairo (photo: Greek Ministry of Environment and Energy)
The EMGF was officially established in January 2020 in Cairo (photo: Greek Ministry of Environment and Energy)
MEDITERRANEAN. The member states of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) accepted, on Tuesday 9 March 2021, the arrival of France in their midst and the United States as a permanent observer.

Based in Cairo and chaired by Egypt, the EMGF was born on September 27, 2019 in the Egyptian capital, but is operational only since January 16, 2020. It included at its inception Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Italy and Jordan represented by their Ministers of Energy. Palestine has since joined this group. So has France from now on. Paris had officially presented its candidacy in January 2020.
The United States, like the European Union and the United Arab Emirates, has only permanent observer status.

The EMGF's objective is to ensure that international law is respected in the management of everyone's gas resources in this region, where the deposits are highly disputed since the successive major discoveries off Egypt, Greece, Cyprus, Lebanon, Israel and Gaza. The latter was discovered in 2000, but has not been exploited due to tensions between Israel and Palestine. The Forum also appears as a united block against Turkey's ambitions in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Forum becomes an international organization in charge of natural gas

The EMGF aims to become a platform bringing together gas producers, consumers and transit countries to create and stimulate a regional gas market, optimize resource development, reduce infrastructure costs, offer competitive prices and improve trade relations.

In Cairo on Tuesday, March 9, 2021, at their fourth periodic meeting, members "emphasized the forum's objectives as a platform for systematic dialogue on gas policies," as stated in a statement from the Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum. They also announced the entry into force of the Forum's charter, signed between late 2020 and early 2021 by member states. It allows the EMGF to position itself as an "intergovernmental organization in charge of natural gas affairs".

The Forum will adopt a long-term strategy and is preparing to launch two new initiatives on the decarbonization of gas and liquefied natural gas used as fuel for ships. Two working groups, composed of experts, are being set up to advance each of these two initiatives.


Eric Apim

Wednesday, March 10th 2021

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