Will the lights stay on in Egypt?

Source: Middle East Institute

Author(s): Hisham Fahmy

Original Link: https://www.mei.edu/publications/will-lights-stay-egypt

In the blistering summer of 2014, Egyptians were facing spontaneous electricity blackouts for up to six hours a day, waiting hours in gas station lines often long enough to stretch across entire neighborhoods, and enduring hundreds of terrorist attacks targeting infrastructure.

The energy industry was operating at just 70 percent as a result of a supply shortage that only added to high unemployment figures. Consumption surpassed production, and when the government diverted oil and gas ordinarily allocated for export to the local market, it accrued billions of dollars in debt to international oil companies. The energy crisis of 2013/14 was not the first Egypt had faced; it was just the most recent chapter in Egypt’s long and turbulent history when it comes to energy.

Fast forward six years, Egypt is achieving self-sufficiency in natural gas, there’s an oversupply of electricity, and the country has paid off more than 80 percent of its international oil debt. The discovery of the largest gas field in the Mediterranean, Zohr, in 2015 made Egypt an attractive place for gas investments. This resulted in natural gas investments increasing by 13.29 percent in FY2016/17. Egypt is now investing in renewable energy such as solar and wind as it has diversified the sector and is expected to help pave the way to future investment and prosperity.

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