CAIRO, EGYPT (June 24, 2004) – Earlier today, the U. S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) awarded a $701,801 grant to Egyptian Petrochemicals Holding Company (Echem) to finance a feasibility study related to a proposed methanol/ammonia plant in the Mediterranean Industrial Zone in Damietta, Egypt. If constructed, the plant will make an important contribution to Egypt’s burgeoning petrochemicals industry.
The grant was conferred in a signing ceremony held at the American Embassy in Cairo, Egypt. Mr. Henry Steingass, USTDA Regional Director for Africa and the Middle East, signed the grant agreement on behalf of the U.S. Government. Dr. Sherif I.A. Ismail, Acting Chairman of the Board, signed the grant agreement on behalf of Echem. Dr. James Joy, Commercial Counselor for the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, and Engineer Osama Kamal, Assistant Chairman of Echem, witnessed the signing on behalf of the U.S. Government and Echem, respectively.
During the signing ceremony, Regional Director Steingass stated, “USTDA is very pleased to begin this third partnership with Echem to promote growth and investment in Egypt’s strategically vital petrochemicals industry. The success and rapid implementation of the two previous USTDA-funded project studies demonstrates the professionalism and commitment of the Echem team.”
Acting Chairman Ismail noted the interest already shown by industry in this project, stating “Echem is ready to move this important project in our strategic program forward. The study support and relationship with the USTDA have been an effective part of our efforts.”
The establishment of an integrated methanol/ammonia plant using natural gas would expand Egypt’s petrochemical outputs for export and domestic use. The project is a strategic priority for the Egyptian government because of its ability to reduce the country’s foreign currency expenditures and generate foreign currency income and skilled employment. The USTDA-funded feasibility study, which will be competed among qualified U.S. firms, will provide the expertise needed to define the optimal development and investment approach for the project.