Egypt renews its supply of natural gas to Israel

Supply was halted amid six separate attacks by terrorists and saboteurs in the Sinai Peninsula; resumption expected to affect electricity rates.

By GLOBES, JPOST.COM STAFF
October 23, 2011 17:45
1 minute read.
Haifa bay power plant

Haifa bay power plant 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

The National Infrastructures Ministry announced Sunday that Egypt has resumed natural gas deliveries to Israel. Deliveries began gradually on Thursday night, beginning with small quantities to test the pipeline and a continuous flow beginning later. Deliveries to Israel followed the resumption of deliveries to Jordan last week.

The resumption of Egyptian gas deliveries should lower, or at least delay a pending 5 percent electricity rate hike. The quantity of gas deliveries is still not clear. This year, Egypt's gas deliveries have been just 30% of the contractual amounts.

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Deliveries of natural gas were suspended due to attacks on gas pipelines and facilities in Sinai following the fall of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. The pipeline was attacked six times between February and September.

Egypt supplies 40% of the gas needs of Israel Electric Corporation. The lack of Egyptian gas forced the Public Utilities Authority (Electricity) to raise electricity rates by almost 10% in July, and another price hike is due next month.

Egypt has been trying to charge Israel and Jordan more for its gas after complaining that prices fixed during Mubarak's rule were below market rates.

Israel Electric Corporation’s use of diesel and fuel oil to generate electricity, instead of natural gas, cost the Israeli economy an average of NIS 10 million a day during the summer, according to the National Infrastructure Ministry. In July and August, the extra burning of 142,000 tons of diesel, compared with 2010, cost NIS 600m.

The Egyptian armed forces launched a security operation in Sinai in August to root out hundreds of suspected militants believed to be behind some of the attacks on the pipeline and police compounds in the peninsula.

Security sources said then that they had captured a group of four Islamist militants as they prepared to blow up the gas pipeline in el-Arish.

Reuters contributed to this report.


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