ExxonMobil has played an important role in Egypt’s history for well over a century and will continue to do so as the country moves towards building a modern and diversified economy. In this interview, Hesham El Amroussy discusses the recent economic reforms, the modernization of the oil and gas industry and ExxonMobil’s community investments in areas such as education and women’s economic empowerment.
Since the end of 2016, the government has been taking serious steps towards reforming the economy with the ultimate goal of achieving macroeconomic stability. So more than two years on since the implementation of the first major reforms, what is your assessment of the current situation?
It is important to highlight ExxonMobil’s long history and presence in Egypt. We have been operating in Egypt since 1902 – that’s 115 years of successful partnership in Egypt’s growth. Throughout this long period, and during good as well as challenging times, ExxonMobil Egypt operated on a strong foundation of principles and core values. In 2016, Egypt embarked on a number of unprecedented macro socio-economic reform measures. And two years down the road, the business environment and the macroeconomic indicators are viewed as proof that Egypt’s economy is fundamentally evolving. The progress is well recognised by the business community. Moreover, the feedback from the IMF, World Bank, and International Credit Agencies, has also been encouraging and reflected the positive outlook.
Now, moving on to the oil and gas sector: Egypt doesn’t only want to satisfy the domestic demand, but also to become a net exporter of oil and gas. The country is right now very well positioned in that regard. What are your current expectations on Egypt becoming a net exporter once again?
ExxonMobil Egypt is pleased with the relentless efforts to modernize the oil and gas sector in Egypt and the positive impact that is bringing to the industry. The modernization strategy aims to improve the performance of the sector across the entire value chain, attract investments and position Egypt as an energy hub. In my view, Egypt is naturally poised to become an energy hub within the region given its geographical location and the existing infrastructure such as the Suez Canal, SUMED pipeline, gas pipelines and LNG terminals. The modernisation strategy is based on a number of pillars including human capacity building, operational excellence, effective governance and use of technology, and effective engagement of key stakeholders.
The minister of oil said that for 2018-19, he plans to attract 10 billion dollars in exploration. How competitive do you think Egypt is for attracting investment in the oil and gas sector?
The Ministry of Petroleum has demonstrated steadfast commitment towards the modernization of the oil and gas sector, aiming for improving the performance of the sector across the entire value chain, attracting investments and positioning Egypt as an energy hub. This comes on the back drop of a progressive economic environment and plans to attract investments. Recently, ExxonMobil has been awarded Nile Delta Block 3 following the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Co. international bid round.
The addition of this block reaffirms ExxonMobil’s commitment to pursuing high-quality opportunities in Africa. ExxonMobil has been part of Egypt’s growth for more than 115 years, and we look forward to working collaboratively with the ministry to support the development of Egypt’s resources through the application of our upstream expertise.
So, ExxonMobil has 115 years in the country. You’re a market leader in petrol products and technology. You currently offer more than 350 service stations across the country. What role do you play within the Egyptian economy?
ExxonMobil Egypt is a leader in the marketing of quality fuels and high performance lubrication solutions. Our business here is substantial and we are excited about our recent entry into Egypt’s upstream. ExxonMobil Egypt operates at the highest standards of operational excellence with a deep understanding of the Egyptian customer needs and wants. ExxonMobil’s success in Egypt is built on a strong foundation of business principals and a deeply rooted culture of integrity. Our world-class workforce, made up of some of the best talents in Egypt and the world, have been instrumental to our success. ExxonMobil Egypt’s business generates about 15,000 jobs both directly and indirectly, and provides best-in-class opportunities for training and capacity building. For more than a century, ExxonMobil Egypt has been actively engaged in community investment via a number of long-standing successful programs that focus on education and women’s economic empowerment. We are very proud of our history as a long term partner in Egypt’s growth and we aspire to grow our business even further.
If you were to meet an American considering investing in Egypt, what would your message to him be?
I would tell them about the number of corporations, whether U.S or international, that are pursuing very good business opportunities in Egypt. Official data suggests that Egypt is open for business and encouraging investors. That’s clear across all sectors.