Egypt's petroleum minister says his country is speeding up talks with neighboring Cyprus to import natural gas for its own domestic use and for possible re-export to other countries.

Sherif Ismail says that Egypt can receive as much gas quantities as Cyprus can export.

The gas from a field off Cyprus' southern coast that's estimated to hold 3.6 trillion to 6 trillion cubic feet of the fossil fuel could be piped directly to Egypt's processing facilities and used to meet the country's huge energy needs.

Ismail said the gas could also be processed so that it can be exported to other countries.

Ismail spoke Tuesday after talks with Cypriot Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis.