Egypt has signed the East Mediterranean Gas Forum’s (EMGF) charter, making it a formally established international organization that unites gas producers and importers from member states Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan and Palestine, Al Ahram Online reports.
In a teleconference on Tuesday, Egypt hosted the signing ceremony of the EMGF, with the participation of seven ministers from different countries across the East Mediterranean region.
Created in January 2019, the forum will act as a “platform that brings together natural gas producers and consumers to establish a joint vision as well as a regulated dialogue over natural gas policies to utilize the region’s resources,” according to industry publication Egypt Oil and Gas.
Egyptian Minister of Petroleum Tarek El Molla praised the forum during the teleconference, calling it a major breakthrough that will help optimize member states’ oil and gas reserves while establishing solidified dialogue and cooperation between them. El Molla further praised the EMGF for finalizing the charter in a record 20 months despite global circumstances.
In addition to France, who witnessed the signing of the charter, the EMGF is supported and recognized by the European Union, World Bank, and the United States.
The forum, which excludes Turkey, said they are open for any membership submissions by any other state within the Eastern Mediterranean, with minister Molla noting the organization’s willingness to welcome other countries given that they share the same goals and condemn any acts of violence.
This comes right after Greece and Turkey’s conflict over energy claims in the Eastern Mediterranean, with Ankara announcing it would expand its search for gas resources near the disputed region.
Tensions continued to escalate when Egypt signed a maritime demarcation deal with Greece which establishes an exclusive economic zone between the two countries. However, talks between Greece and Turkey over the disputed zones are expected to continue after Ankara pulled back an oil and gas exploration vessel near the shore of Crete.