As a result, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, BP PLC and Eni SpA have invested billions of dollars in Egypt in recent years, including the Mediterranean Sea’s biggest natural-gas field off the Egyptian coast. Egypt hopes to be a net exporter of natural gas by the end of 2018 and eventually a Mediterranean natural-gas hub, potentially importing from Israel and Cyprus and then re-exporting to Europe and elsewhere—a prospect Mr. Sisi calls a “dream.” Egypt’s strategy for building its natural-resources industry contrasts with big energy producers from Saudi Arabia to Norway, where oil and gas sales underpin social safety nets and electricity prices are cheap compared with most energy importers. Egypt’s large debts to oil companies, high budget deficit and the conditions of loans from the International Monetary Fund forced it to invert the petrostate model, raising energy prices for the public while hailing a series of major hydrocarbon discoveries. […]