V. V. BELYAKOV
Doctor of Historical Sciences
Meeting the energy needs of States is an important global task. Energy is the core of economic and social progress." This statement begins the section "Energetika" of the yearbook " Egypt. 2008", published by the Egyptian Ministry of Information1.
This task is all the more important, the higher the rate of development of the country's economy. And Egypt has been making progress in recent years. Even in the context of the global economic crisis, GDP growth in fiscal year 2008/2009 (fiscal year ending June 30) was 4.7%2. In the previous two years, it exceeded 7%3. Therefore, an appropriate energy base is also required.
NOT JUST OIL AND GAS
Egypt has a variety of energy sources. First of all, it is oil and gas. Their share in electricity generation is 86.8%4.
Renewable energy sources are becoming increasingly important. Today, the main one is water. The largest hydroelectric power station on the Nile (the high-rise Aswan dam) with a capacity of 2,100 MW was built in the 1960s with the assistance of Soviet specialists and using Soviet equipment. Smaller hydroelectric power stations exist on the old Aswan dam, on the water-lifting dams in Esna, Nag Hammadi and Assiut. However, according to experts, the potential of hydropower is almost exhausted. Its further development is possible mainly due to the modernization of power equipment.
In recent years, three wind farms have been built in Egypt. They are built in Zaafaran on the Gulf of Suez, in Hurghada and in Sharm al-Sheikh. The capacity of each of these power stations is relatively small5, but they play a significant role in providing electricity to areas far from the Nile Valley and Delta. On the coast of the Gulf of Suez of the Red Sea, a northerly wind is constantly blowing. It was his energy that the Egyptians put at their service.
Solar energy is also increasingly being used in Egypt, as clouds are rare visitors in this country. At first, solar panels were installed only in hotels located on the Red Sea coast, as well as on buoys in the Suez Canal. But recently, a solar power plant with a capacity of 150 MW was commissioned in the town of Qureimat south of Cairo.6
Egyptians attach high priority to the development of energy based on renewable energy sources. Such power plants are environmentally friendly and help save oil and gas. The goal is to increase the share of electricity produced on the basis of renewable sources to 20% by 2020.
SCARCE RAW MATERIALS
Egypt's oil and gas reserves are estimated at 2,200 million tons, with oil accounting for only a quarter of that amount.7 Therefore, its production has been declining in recent years. Thus, in the 1994/1995 fiscal year, 45 million tons of crude oil were produced 8, and in 2007/2008 - only 33 million tons 9. Gas is another matter. Its production is growing rapidly and amounted to 42.8 million tons (in oil equivalent)in 2007/200810. The main gas fields are located on the Mediterranean shelf east of Alexandria and in the Port Said area.
Gas, like oil, is produced in Egypt by foreign companies on the basis of concession agreements. Initially, an exploration concession is granted, usually for 8 years. If the company fails to confirm the commercial nature of the deposit during this period, Egypt will not compensate its expenses. If the field is commercially profitable, then a new agreement is concluded for a period of 25 years with the possibility of extending it for another 10 years. Until the company recoups its exploration costs, the extracted raw materials are divided between it and Egypt as follows: 40% of the production goes to the company in compensation plus another 15%. The share of Egypt itself is thus 45% of the production volume. After that, the production is usually divided in the ratio of 25-75% in favor of Egypt 11.
In recent years, the state's demand for oil and gas has exceeded its share in production. Thus, according to the Central Bank of Egypt, in the 2008/2009 financial year, the shortage of oil amounted to 5 million tons, and gas-over 4 million tons 12. To cover the deficit, Egyptians buy oil and gas from their foreign partners at world prices, as stipulated in the concession agreements. Egypt spent over $ 4.5 billion on these projects last year. USD 13
GAS FOR EXPORT
Egypt is interested in its foreign partners increasing gas production. This will allow them to reduce the gap between their own share and consumption, or at least keep it at the same level. In addition, new investments in gas production stimulate related sectors of the economy and create jobs. The latter task is extremely relevant for Egypt, where, according to official data,
According to the latest data, the unemployment rate is about 10%14, and according to some independent experts, it is almost twice as high.
In order to attract foreign partners to expand gas production, Egypt built a 250-kilometer pipeline with a capacity of 1.1 billion cubic meters in 2003. m per year from El-Arish in the north of the Sinai Peninsula to the Jordanian city of Aqaba. Its commissioning meant that for the first time Egyptian gas was exported.
The El-Arish-Aqaba gas pipeline became the first section of the so-called Arab gas pipeline. The second section, 390 km long from Aqaba to Al-Rihab on the Jordanian-Syrian border, was built in 2005, and the third, Al-Rihab - Homs (320 km), was completed in 200815 by the Russian Stroytransgaz. In 2010 It should complete the construction of the last section of the Arab gas pipeline from Aleppo to the border with Turkey (62 km) 16.
Meanwhile, Egypt's foreign partners are already supplying gas produced on its territory to Europe. In 2005, the gas liquefaction plants in Dumyat and Edku were put into operation. The Dumyat plant with a capacity of 4.8 million tons per year is a joint venture between the Spanish company Fenosa and the Italian company Eni. The plant in Edku with a capacity of 8 million tons per year is owned by the English "British Gas" and the Malaysian company " Petronas "(35.5% each), as well as" Gaz de France " (5%). The remaining 24% is owned by state-owned Egyptian oil and gas corporations17. In addition to a number of European countries, liquefied natural gas is also supplied to the United States, Mexico, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey.18
In 2008, through an underwater gas pipeline with a capacity of 1.7 billion cubic meters. m per year from El-Arish to Ashkelon, Egyptian gas came to Israel 19.
YOU CAN'T DO WITHOUT NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS
Modest oil and gas reserves and the growing gap between Egypt's share in their production and the needs of the national economy have led the Egyptian leadership to conclude that it is necessary to develop nuclear energy. A similar project already existed in the mid-1980s. A site for a nuclear power plant was even chosen - in the desert village of Ad-Dabaa on the Mediterranean coast, 140 km west of Alexandria. The vast area was enclosed by a fence, and a sign was hung on the gate: "The site of the first Egyptian nuclear power plant." However, the Chernobyl disaster of 1986, combined with a number of economic factors, forced Egypt to postpone the construction of a nuclear power plant for a long time.
On October 29, 2007, President Hosni Mubarak announced that Egypt was launching a program for the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Two weeks later, the Supreme Council for the Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy was formed, headed by the President himself.
Egyptians are no strangers to nuclear research. Back in 1961, the country's first research nuclear reactor was built in Inshasa, near Cairo, with the assistance of Soviet specialists. It helped Egypt create a school of nuclear scientists, but because of its low capacity (2 MW), it could not be used for the needs of the national economy. In 1998, a second multi-purpose nuclear reactor with a capacity of 22 MW and a plant for the production of radioactive isotopes for medicine, industry and agriculture were built in Inshas with the assistance of Argentina.20
During President Hosni Mubarak's visit to Moscow in March 2008, Russia and Egypt signed an agreement on cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy. This agreement opens up the possibility for Russian companies to participate in tenders for the construction of the Egyptian nuclear power plant.
During President Dmitry Medvedev's return visit to Cairo in June 2009, an agreement on Strategic Partnership between Russia and Egypt was signed. Commenting on the document, President H. Mubarak noted:: "This step reflects the desire of our countries to expand consultations at the political level, and is also aimed at supporting bilateral cooperation in the economy, trade, energy, and other priority areas,"he said21. Dmitry Medvedev, in turn, named energy, including nuclear power, among the promising areas of cooperation.22
The first tender for consulting services was won in June 2009 by the Australian firm Worley Parsons. Its immediate task is to choose a site for a nuclear power plant. Ad-Dabaa remains a possible construction site, although it is not currently the only one. The fact is that in recent years, large tourist complexes have been built on the Mediterranean coast near this village, and an international airport has been opened. Many experts believe that in these conditions it is impractical to build a nuclear power plant there. One of the possible alternatives is Safaga on the Red Sea coast. But this port city, located just 60 km south of Hurghada, the unofficial capital of Egyptian tourism, is now surrounded by hotels. Therefore, other options are being considered.
It usually takes about 10 years to build a nuclear power plant. So it is unlikely that the Egyptian firstborn will give a current before 2020. It seems that the Egyptians were ten years late in launching this project. But now they are absolutely convinced of its necessity.
1 Misr. Al-kitab al-sanawi. 2008. Al-Kahira, 2009, p. 169 (in Arabic). in Russian).
3 Misr.., p. 104.
4 Ibid., p. 170.
5 In total, it is 310 MW.
Belyakov V. 8 Priority in gas production / / Asia and Africa Today, 1996, N 4, p. 29.
9 Misr.., p. 180.
14 Misr.., pp. 246-247.
15 www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_Gaz Pipeline
18 Misr.., p. 186.
20 Trud, 07.2.1998.
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