Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs leading the Bureau of Energy Resources (ENR) at the US Department of State Amos J Hochstein underlined the importance of the new Suez Canal, noting that it would contribute to reducing international prices of transporting oil.
During a meeting with a number of Egyptian journalists, Hochstein, a senior aide to US Secretary of State John Kerry, said he have visited Egypt five times since he assumed office three years ago. He also said he met with Minister of Electricity Mohammad Shaker and Minister of Petroleum Sherif Ismail during his current visit.
Hochstein congratulated the Egyptian government on its success to solve the power outage problem quickly, praising the strenuous efforts exerted by the government over the past few months.
He also voiced happiness that the US has been a partner to the Egyptian government in introducing such change.
The US official said energy is a basic element to achieve development in any country, highlighting the existing cooperation between Egypt and the US in the field of energy.
He said his current visit to Egypt comes ahead of launching the Egyptian-American strategic dialogue to uncover ways to deepen joint cooperation in the field of energy.
Responding to a question on whether the US helped Egypt in settling the power crisis, Hochstein said the US help is not only in the form of grants but it is rather involved in prolonged dialogue to assist Egypt in the energy sector.
He highlighted the efforts exerted by the US company of General Electric to explore energy sources in Egypt especially gas and oil, improve the energy system, reduce the waste of power and rationalize consumption.
The Egyptian government has set an important target to provide 20 percent of the needed energy via new and renewable sources, he explained, adding that US is encouraging American and international companies to invest in the oil and energy sector in Egypt in view of the incentive measures which have recently adopted by the government.
As regards cooperation in the nuclear programs to generate power and the US reservations on the Egyptian-Russian cooperation in this domain, Hochstein said he did not tackle the issue during his talks with the Egyptian officials and there should not be any comment on agreements between the Egyptian government and any state, stating that this matter is a concern of the Egyptian government.
He pointed out that US is backing any nuclear program as long as it is carried out in a certain way.
Asked on whether the US dependency on alternative sources of energy could decrease the importance of Gulf states as a source of oil, Hochstein said it is not truce, noting that Gulf states are highly important for the US in view of the increase of production of the US oil.
He asserted that relations with the Gulf countries are of highest importance and it is the strongest in several decades.
On the whether the agreement with Iran could affect the increase of oil production, the US official said the economic sanctions on Iran would be gradually lifted and Iran can sell its oil, but it is a matter which needs time, noting that oil prices in the current year slashed from dlrs 115 to dlrs 52 due to low demand from Europe and China.
He voiced belief that oil markets could witness an improve when Iran join to the oil exporting countries. In the meantime, the oil sector is hard to predict, he concluded.