‘Sinai Beduin pressure Egypt to maintain gas cut to Israel'

“Egypt has officially informed Jordan that gas supplies will resume only if Amman signs an agreement on new rates,” Jordanian official says.

By OREN KESSLER
March 10, 2011 03:09
1 minute read.
An explosion at a gas terminal in Egypt.

Egypt gas terminal explosion_311. (photo credit: (Ashraf Swailem/AP))

Egypt, which cut gas supplies to Jordan and Israel after saboteurs attacked a pipeline last month, wants to increase the price the Hashemite kingdom pays, AFP reported Tuesday, quoting a Jordanian official.

“Egypt has officially informed Jordan that the gas supplies will resume only if Amman signs an agreement on new rates,” the official said.

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A Western diplomat in Amman said the delay in the resumption of Egyptian gas “is motivated by political reasons because there is widespread opposition, especially in Sinai, against the resumption of gas supply to Israel.”

“In this context, it is difficult for Egypt to export gas to Jordan, and not Israel, without raising an international outcry,” the source said.

Israel Radio quoted the same source as saying the natural gas flow to Israel from Egypt would not be renewed due to opposition from Beduin groups in Sinai.

Attackers used explosives against the pipeline in February in the town of Lihfen in northern Sinai, near the Gaza Strip.

Egypt used to sell gas to Jordan at a discount – half of the market price, or $3 per million British Thermal Unit, he said. One BTU is roughly equal to 1,000 cubic feet.

Jordan imports around 240 million cubic feet of Egyptian gas a day, which accounts for 80 percent of its needs. The country’s Central Electricity Generation Co., which supplies 50 percent of country’s electricity, said it is losing $2.2 million a day because of the gas cut.

In its last notice to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange on Thursday, Ampal-American Israel Corporation said all repairs on the gas pipeline have been completed, implying that Egypt was delaying the resumption of gas deliveries, Globes reported on Wednesday. Ampal owns 12.5% of the Egyptian gas supplier East Mediterranean Gas Company.


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