Egypt's finance minister says discovery of new natural gas field won't stifle subsidy reform

CAIRO – Egypt’s finance minister says that the discovery of a massive new offshore natural gas field will not slow down his country’s efforts to slash energy subsidies.

Speaking at a business conference in Cairo organized by Euromoney on Monday, Hany Kadry Dimian said: “It will not stop us from continuing to implement the reforms that we need … or give us room to manoeuvr with delays.”

Italy’s Eni SpA revealed late last month that the Zohr field was the “largest-ever” found in the Mediterranean Sea, something could that alleviate Egypt’s need for gas imports in the coming years when a booming population will lead to a spike in domestic demand.

Analysts have voiced concerns that the windfall income from the find could lead Egypt to freeze the much-needed economic reforms.