Political turmoil over the last four years has meant Egypt has now has become a net importer the commodity. The country's refinery output declined by 28 percent between 2009 to 2013, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), which says that Egypt must import petroleum products to make up for the shortfall.
Heikal detailed his plans for a $3.7 billion refinery facility that is being built outside of Cairo. He predicts that his project would cut Egypt's oil imports by 60 percent, which he said was substantial for the current account and balance of payments for the Egyptian government.
Fuel subsidies in Egypt provide a boon to citizens and businesses but the government has signaled that they could be coming to an end. The oil ministry said in December that it expects to cut its energy subsidies bill by 30 percent in this current fiscal year, according to Reuters, but only if global prices remain low.
The price of oil has seen a dramatic drop since last June of around 60 percent and despite a recent uptick analysts from Goldman Sachs believe that there might be more pain ahead for the price. The cutting of subsidies could help the government's economic plan and bolster its cash strapped finances.
However, Ahmed Heikal sees this as the delicate balancing act that Egypt is working through and hopes that a series of social security programs would mean that subsidies would be gradually lifted. He spoke of plans by the government to provide money to families to keep their children in education. He also highlighted reforms to ration cards and the raising of pension schemes.