Gas reserves in the Middle East can create opportunities for employment, business and peacemaking, according to Egypt's petroleum minister.
Amid a push by Egypt to transform itself into a regional gas hub, the country hosted the East Med Gas Hub earlier in January and brought together officials from Israel, Cyprus, Greece, Jordan, Italy and Palestine, CNBC reported.
Speaking Monday at the BHGE annual meeting in Florence, Italy, Egypt Petroleum Minister Tarek El-Molla told CNBC that the commodity can aid the peace process in the region.
The BHGE meeting is one of the oil and gas industry's most anticipated events, as it brings together global leaders to debate key issues and learn more about the latest innovations of the industry.
"We were very proud to host the Palestinians the Israelis, sitting together in one room, on the roundtable together with other neighboring countries like Greece, Cyprus, Jordan and Italy," he told CNBC's Steve Sedgwick.
"So the benefit will be there and the welfare will cover all the countries because gas will be the cause of revenues to generate opportunities, job opportunities, business opportunities and it will bless all the people there in the Middle East hence it is the catalyst and it will be the peacemaker," he added.
Cairo is expected to become a net gas exporter by the end of 2019 and El-Molla noted that the country is seeing outside interest into the sector — particularly after the success of Egypt's Zohr gas field, an offshore natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea operated by Italian energy firm Eni.
"We have seen a lot of interest from international oil companies coming into different opportunities we're offering in Egypt, whether in new frontier areas like the Red Sea, or the western side of the Mediterranean in Egypt."