Egypt’s acting prime minister, Sherif Ismail, announced on Thursday that his government will not permit local companies to import natural gas from Israel.
In a statement to the press, Ismail said that his government was committed to preventing Israeli natural gas from penetrating the Egyptian market. He called on all Egyptian companies to cease all negotiations on the matter.
National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz on Wednesday approved the first deal to export gas from Israel to Egypt.
The seven-year agreement signed between the Tamar reservoir partners and Egypt’s Dolphinus Holdings Ltd. in March aims to convey 5 billion cubic meters of gas through the now defunct East Mediterranean Gas pipeline, which used to bring gas in the opposite direction from Egypt to Israel. EMG, however, has repeatedly denied its involvement in or recognition of such a deal.
In addition to the fact that EMG continues to reject the agreement between the Tamar partners and Dolphinus, the gas export arrangement also may face some hurdles within the Egyptian government.
In 2008, two Egyptian national gas companies began selling gas to the Israel Electric Corporation through the EMG pipeline – supplying the country with about 40 percent of its natural gas provisions.