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Cyprus to assume gas forum presidency

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The Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry Natasa Pilides will assume the presidency of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum on January 1, 2022, taking over from Tarek El Molla, the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources of Egypt.

The East Mediterranean Gas Forum was set up to help set common strategies among member countries, create a competitive regional gas market, help safeguard supply and demand, as well as to help coordinate resource development efforts.

Pilides’ imminent appointment as EMGF president was confirmed on Thursday, November 25, during a ministerial meeting of the forum.

The meeting involved the participation of energy ministers from France, Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Italy, Jordan, and Palestine, while the US, European Union and the World Bank attended as observers.

Aside from the Cypriot minister’s appointment as the next EMGF president, the ministerial meeting also appointed Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Energy, Commerce and Industry Marios Panayides as the forum’s chairman of the board.

Moreover, Osama Mobarez, Egypt’s Undersecretary of the Technical Office Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, was appointed as the forum’s general secretary.

During her opening address to the forum, Pilides said that Cyprus’ assumption of the forum’s presidency is quite significant, adding that future objectives and priorities will be discussed with the forum’s deputy president for the year 2022 Tarek el Molla.

“As we have repeatedly stated, Cyprus remains committed to the collective efforts of EMGF member countries to make responsible use of offshore gas discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean region and to fully respect members’ rights to their natural resources, in accordance with international law,” Pilides said.

“In addition to the excellent work already done by the working groups we have set up, we would also like to further discuss and promote policies and actions, through the EMGF, that will help our region become a pioneer in the transition to green energy and sustainable development,” she added.

The Cypriot energy minister reiterated that natural gas will help Cyprus’ transition to greener forms of energy as the country strives towards net-zero carbon emissions.

Regarding the forum’s future actions, Pilides said that the EMGF should try to expand its presence and showcase its work internationally, while also expressing Cyprus’ gratitude to both Egypt and Tarek el Molla for their support and the establishment of the forum.

“The forum has already succeeded in bringing together partner countries and other governments, as well as various other partners, including gas producers and exporters, investors, and financiers, working for the sustainable development of the regional gas market, which minimises technical, economic and political risks,” Pilides explained.

The next EMGF ministerial meeting will take place in Cairo in June 2022.

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