CAIRO - Egypt has issued long-awaited executive regulations that will allow the private sector to import natural gas directly, according to a statement from the prime minister's office on Tuesday.
Egypt's parliament last year passed a law establishing a gas regulatory authority that the government hopes will attract greater private sector participation in the country's rapidly expanding gas sector.
The executive regulations issued on Tuesday make this law active.
Egypt has said it aims to be a regional hub for the trade of liquefied natural gas (LNG) after a string of major discoveries which are expected to make the country gas self-sufficient by the end of 2018.
The new authority and the law are expected to pave the way for private sector companies to import and distribute gas within the country, activities currently monopolised by the government.
Industry analysts have said several companies have so far applied for import licences.
(Reporting by Momen Saeed Attallah. Writing by Eric Knecht. Editing by Jane Merriman) ((mailto:email@example.com; +20 2 2394 8102; Reuters Messaging: rm://firstname.lastname@example.org))