Natural resources, energy and environment
The Nile and its waters are Egypt's foremost
natural resource. The country also has significant
assets of oil and natural gas. However, oil production
is declining and instead gas exports are growing
rapidly. Gas burning accounts for the majority of
Half of the oil is in the Suez Bay, but assets are
also in the Sinai, the Nile Delta and the deserts. The
gas finds, which were mainly discovered in the 1990s,
are mainly found in the Nile Delta and off the
Mediterranean coast. New discoveries have made Egypt the
second largest natural gas producer in Africa after
Major exports by Egypt with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
An Italian energy company found one of the world's
largest natural gas fields, Zohr, in the Mediterranean
off Port Said in 2015 and the exploitation started in
2018. With Zohr and extraction initiated from three
additional discoveries during the year, Egypt managed to
become self-sufficient in natural gas. This enabled the
country to end its import of liquefied natural gas,
which had cost the equivalent of SEK 2 billion a month
the year before.
However, by New Year 2019/2020, a new collaboration
was established with Israel, which opened for Egyptian
gas imports from a larger Israeli field in the
Mediterranean. An underwater pipeline connects the
northern Sinai Peninsula with Ashkelon in Israel. A few
years earlier, Egypt exported gas to Israel via onshore
pipelines, but the lines were repeatedly attacked by
armed groups in Sinai.
Important mineral resources are phosphate, iron ore
and gold. Several gold deposits have been made in recent
years and the recovery is increasing at a rapid rate.
Iron ore has previously been mainly mined in the area
around Assuan, but new reserves have also been found at
an oasis in the Libyan desert (in the west). In Sinai
there are large coal deposits.
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Gas-fired power plants account for around three
quarters of the electricity. Oil burning and hydropower
from the Assuan Dam also contribute. A target is for 20
percent of electricity to come from renewable sources in
2020, and investments have been made at several large
wind farms. The country's first solar power plant,
partly funded by the World Bank, is located south of
Cairo and inaugurated at the end of 2010.
Plans are underway to exploit more of the country's
great solar power potential, with almost constant
sunshine in the vast desert areas. The construction of a
nuclear power plant in Dabaa on the Mediterranean coast
was halted after the accident in Chernobyl in 1986, but
construction will be resumed in cooperation with Russia.
In connection with a state visit by Russian President
Vladimir Putin in 2017, an agreement was signed to
jointly build the Daba plant.
The current electricity generation is not enough to
meet the needs. Extremely high temperatures during the
summer often contribute to recurrent power cuts.
Nile water is heavily exploited by several countries
and water scarcity is a serious threat (see Foreign
Policy and Defense). Egypt, whose more than 100 million
residents live mostly along the river, is troubled by
the preparations to curb the upstream river, on the Blue
Nile in Ethiopia, which contributes a large part of the
river's water. The high dam, Egypt's own dam, not only
provides electricity but has also caused salting. The
pollution along the river is great. The environmental
organization Very Nile has been started to collect
garbage along the beaches, not least plastic bottle
drives that tourism leaves behind.
The air in big cities is also heavily polluted.
Uncontrolled garbage handling is another major problem.
But progress has been reported in one area: In June
2019, Hurghada and other resorts on the Red Sea banned
the use of plastic disposable items. Six months later,
when the beaches were cleaned, it was found that the
problems with plastic being washed out of the sea had
FACTS - ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
835 kilos of oil equivalent (2014)
Electricity consumption per person
1699 kWh, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
201 894 thousand tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
2.2 tonnes (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
5.7 percent (2015)
Death sentences after new mass trial
188 followers of the Muslim Brotherhood are sentenced to death for the attack
on the Kerdasa police station (see September 2013).
Most of the convicted are detained while some are convicted in their absence.
Terrorist acts cause the military's greatest loss in decades
More than 30 conscripted soldiers are killed in two concerted assaults at
roadblocks in al-Arish, North Sinai Province. The president announces state of
emergency in parts of the area and the Rafah border crossing to the Gaza Strip
Hunger strike against anti-protest laws
Some 60 people in prison, including 10 journalists, hunger strikes in growing
protests also targeted arbitrary arrests, torture, constantly postponed trials
and long detention times. Some 70 people outside the prisons are also reported
to be participating in the hunger strike.
FJP dissolved by court
The Muslim Brotherhood's political branch is also ordered to surrender its
assets to the state.
Concern at the border in the west
At least 20 soldiers and three rebels are killed in connection with an attack
on an army post in western Egypt, near the border with Libya.
Imprisonment for al-Jazira journalists
Three journalists, including two foreign nationals, are sentenced to seven
years in prison for supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. Among a number of people
in the same case are several who are convicted in their absence, including three
more foreign journalists. Australia, the Netherlands and the UK in front of
official protests against the judges.
Grand victory for Sisi
When the official result is announced on June 3, Sisi has received 97 percent
of the vote and Sabbahi only 3 percent. The turnout is 47 percent. He will take
over as president on June 8.
Extended presidential election
So few go to the polling stations on May 26-27 that the government first
announces day two for national holidays and extends the opening hours of the
polling stations, and then extends the election by a third day. The government
is obviously concerned that the low turnout erodes Sisi's legitimacy. Many
boycott the election in protest, while others think the result is already given
and therefore do not care to vote.
The April 6 movement is prohibited
A court banned the youth movement, which had a central role in the revolt
against Mubarak. The ban comes after complaints that the group "damages the
image of the country" and cooperates with foreign parties.
Left candidate in the presidential election
Hamdin Sabbahi formally signs up as presidential candidate on the last day of
registration. Thus, it is clear that the choice is between Sabbahi and Sisi.
Sisi is running for president
The Field Marshal announces that he is retiring as Army Chief and Minister of
Defense in order to run for president. The message has been waiting for a long
time. His successor is appointed Sedki Sobhi.
Criticism of mass trials
Since further mass trials against hundreds of people have been announced, the
United Nations, the United States, the EU and many others around the world are
facing harsh criticism of Egypt.
Death sentence after mass trial
A two-day trial in Minya south of Cairo ends with 529 Mursian supporters
sentenced to death for, among other things, the murder of a police officer in
connection with the demolition of the Cairo protest camps in August 2013. The
majority are sentenced in their absence, but 153 of those convicted are detained
. The speedy trial without individual trial provokes great consternation both in
the country and abroad.
New government takes office
Former Housing Minister Ibrahim Mahlab will become new prime minister from
March 1. Of 31 ministers, 11 are new.
The government is leaving
Acting Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi gives the unexpected message in a
televised press conference on February 24. He says nothing about the reason for
Terrorist acts against tourists in Sinai
Four people, including three South Koreans, die in an explosion against a
tourist bus at the border with Israel. 14 South Koreans are injured. The
Islamist group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis takes on the deed, which is the first in
nearly a decade against tourists in Egypt.
Sisi becomes a field marshal
The Minister of Defense is given the highest title one can have in the
military while the military gives him the go-ahead to stand in the presidential
Extensive state violence against citizens
Amnesty International reports in a report that state violence against
citizens since Mursi was deposed has been more extensive than ever before.
According to the human rights organization, 1,400 people have been killed in
just over six months.
Referendum on constitutional proposals
A committee of 50 members has drafted the constitutional proposal, which
voters will have to decide on January 14-15. The proposal means, among other
things, that the military retains far-reaching powers (see also Political
system). Many regime opponents boycott the vote. According to the authorities,
98 percent voted in favor of the proposal. The turnout is just under 39 percent.