Cabinet backs ratification of East Mediterranean Gas Forum statute

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Cyprus’ cabinet has approved a bill ratifying the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) statute as an international organisation of which it is a founding member.

Energy Minister Natasa Pilides said the mandate of the EMGF is to ensure the optimal use of natural gas in the eastern Mediterranean region.

“This is an important development as with the approval of the ratification law by the first five countries that participate in the organisation, the statute of the organisation, officially enters into force, and therefore the first official meeting of its members can follow,” Pilides said.

She added that Palestine, Egypt and Jordan have already ratified the law while Israel and Cyprus are expected to proceed very soon with the ratification by their Parliaments.

“It is expected that very soon the first five founding members will have completed the process so that the organisation can begin its operations.”

The Minister said two more members, Greece and Italy, are also proceeding with the appropriate actions for the approval of the statute.

Another positive development is that the EU has formally announced through the EU Energy Commissioner that it will join the organisation as an observer.

“This is considered very positive as the EU’s support for this effort is of particular importance.”

Last week the United Arab Emirates also joined the Cairo-based EMGF as an observer.

Egypt, Israel, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Jordan and Palestine established the Forum as an intergovernmental organisation in a virtual signing ceremony hosted by Cairo in September.

France has applied to join, with the United States and European Union requesting observer status.

The UAE became a net gas importer in 2008 due to growing demand for power and because it needed gas to reinject into its oilfields to enhance crude production.

The country holds the seventh-largest proven reserves of natural gas in the world, at slightly more than 215 tscf.