Energean CEO: natural gas will drive a just energy transition for the greater Mediterranean

image is Mathios Rigas, Energean Group CEO

In an exclusive interview with Energy Connects ahead of EGYPES 2024, Energean CEO Mathios Rigas outlines the greater Mediterranean-focused energy producer’s future plans, why sustainable and equitable development is not possible without natural gas, and the pivotal role of EGYPES 2024 in shaping the future of the energy sector in the region and beyond.

What do you see as the main opportunities in Egypt’s energy sector?

Egypt is one of the most interesting, complex and important energy nations in the world. There is massive energy demand, driven by a growing population and through significant industrial growth. This demand is in part met through domestic oil and gas production, in addition to growing investment in renewables, primarily solar.  Egypt’s geographical position and its valuable infrastructure also makes it a potential aggregator or a hub for regional energy development, with particular promise in gas.

For this to be realised, however, we need more drilling and there may well be a need for additional transportation infrastructure – we need more molecules and more ways to transport them.

This therefore is my answer – the potential is clear. The main opportunities for me involve our core area of expertise. Exploration, development and production of natural gas – the fuel that will drive a just energy transition for the greater Mediterranean region.

What is your outlook for the gas market in the East Med in 2024 with the current geopolitical uncertainties?

Demand for natural gas across the region is growing. At COP28, gas was specifically branded as one of the major fuels of energy transition as it is so much cleaner than coal or fuel oil. This demand is almost existential – gas is vital to energy security and therefore socioeconomic conditions, let alone sustainable development.


I see this basic human need as a major counter to potential geopolitical volatility. As long as the current situation does not significantly deteriorate, I don’t see there being a significant change to the direction of travel – significant investment in regional gas exploration, development and production, with consequent infrastructure & transportation projects also moving forwards.

How are you looking to continue to invest further? Are you looking to more markets?

We are always looking for attractive assets – at the right price. We also need policy makers to recognise the challenges of private capital and ensure that policy is in place to inventivise that investment. What has happened in Europe – wealth taxes and so on – means that European energy security will be permanently damaged as no one will invest billions of dollars in exploration and production if the returns are not there.

The East Med, however, has taken a more pragmatic approach, one that we applaud. Energy security here is vital, and gas provides for vital societal needs. What we want to make sure is that governments understand that gas is not a short term play. We need industrial longevity baked into policy so that we can ensure economically viable production. After all, the Mediterranean is our home. 

How does EGYPES provide a platform for networking and collaboration among industry leaders, policymakers, and experts?

Everyone is here. Why should we not join them?

What are you most looking forward to at EGYPES 2024?

Seeing whether the ambition and positivity shown at COP28 in December can be continued. Gas must be permitted to play its role in an equitable transition – particularly in the African continent. There is no equitable way that there can be sustainable development, industrial and socioeconomic development without natural gas.

Energean CEO Mathios Rigas will be speaking at the EGYPES 2024 Strategic Conference in Cairo, taking place from 19 - 21 February 2024 at the Egypt International Exhibition Center. Register today at www.egypes.com/conferences/delegate-registration


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