Egypt says UAE joins East Mediterranean gas forum as an observer

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt said on Wednesday that the United Arab Emirates has joined the Cairo-based Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum as an observer.

Egypt, Israel, Greece, Cyprus, Italy and Jordan established the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) as an intergovernmental organisation in a virtual ceremony hosted by Cairo in September.

The Palestinian Authority is also part of the forum

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

The announcement came following a visit by Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (MbZ), who met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

“The two sides ... [expressed] the importance of the added value that the UAE will contribute to the forum’s activities to serve strategic interests and enhance cooperation and partnership between the forum countries,” the Egyptian presidency said in a statement.

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, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Reporting by Mohamed Waly and Alaa Swilam; Writing by Nadine Awadalla; Editing by Aidan Lewis and Giles Elgood