Egypt's finance minister says discovery of new natural gas field won't stifle subsidy reform

Egypt's finance minister says that the discovery of a massive new offshore natural gas field will not slow down his country's efforts to slash energy subsidies.

Speaking at a business conference in Cairo organized by Euromoney on Monday, Hany Kadry Dimian said: "It will not stop us from continuing to implement the reforms that we need ... or give us room to maneuver with delays."

Italy's Eni SpA revealed late last month that the Zohr field was the "largest-ever" found in the Mediterranean Sea, something could that alleviate Egypt's need for gas imports in the coming years when a booming population will lead to a spike in domestic demand.

Analysts have voiced concerns that the windfall income from the find could lead Egypt to freeze the much-needed economic reforms.