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Waiting on Egypt for Oil & Gas Investment

Whither Egypt and its nearly 4.4 billion barrels of proven oil reserves and 77 trillion cubic feet of natural gas? Well, it’s never been a cakewalk, getting energy-starved Egypt’s development projects off the ground and its hydrocarbons out of the ground. We think it’s actually going to get easier now, courtesy of a military coup that any Egypt-watcher had to know was coming sooner rather than later. It certainly wasn’t going to happen under President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood who took power last year, post-revolution, and lost it in a 3 July military coup.

Beyond these reserves, if you don’t think what happens in Egypt is that important on the energy scene—think again.

As much as 12% of all international trade goes through Egypt’s Suez Canal—10% on average—and 22% of the world’s total container traffic. As Juan Cole points out in a recent article, if the Suez Canal were to be closed, it would affect the many commodities. Cole also notes that while Egypt is not a major fuel exporter, the Suez Canal and Egyptian pipelines handle a lot of oil and gas (over 2 million barrels a day of petroleum destined for Western markets). The Suez Canal also handles a lot of LNG shipments, with the UK, Belgium and Italy receiving over 80% of their LNG from here in recent years, while other countries, including the US, Turkey and France receive about 25% of the LNG from this transit point. Further afield,…

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