Egypt gas pipeline attacked; Israel, Jordan flow hit

Egyptian side had notified Amman that the rupture in gas supplies was expected to last for a week

Egypt gas pipeline attacked; Israel, Jordan flow hit

Jordan said on Saturday gas supplies from Egypt were expected to remain halted for one week after a blast hit a pipeline that supplies Israel and Jordan.

An energy source told Reuters that Jordan had switched power stations as a precautionary step to burning fuel oil and diesel, after the suspension of the Egyptian gas supplies that generate 80 percent most of the kingdom's electricity needs.

The head of Jordan's national electricity company Ghaleb al-Maabara told the state news agency Petra the Egyptian side had notified Amman that the rupture in gas supplies was expected to last for a week until the pipeline was repaired.

Saboteurs blew up the pipeline that runs through Egypt's North Sinai, Egyptian state television said earlier.

Israeli officials said Egyptian natural gas supplies to Israel were suspended.

"We are looking into all the details but it is too soon to say how long supplies (from Egypt) will be affected," a source in the Israeli National Infrastructure Ministry told Reuters.

The attack happened as demonstrations against President Hosni Mubarak entered their 12th day, with no sign of an end to the confrontation which has pitted the 82-year-old leader against thousands of anti-government protesters.

Israel gets 40 percent of its natural gas from Egypt, a deal built on their landmark 1979 peace accord.

The company that supplies Egyptian gas to Israel is East Mediterranean Gas (EMG), and one of the major shareholders in the company is Mubarak associate and former Egyptian intelligence chief Hussein Salem.

Opposition groups have long complained that Egyptian gas is sold to Israel at preferential prices and that the contract with EMG violated bureaucratic regulations. The government insists it is done on commercial terms and everything is in order.

Egypt is a modest gas exporter, using pipelines to export to Israel, Jordan and other regional states. It also exports via liquefied natural gas facilities on its north coast, but those are not in the Sinai region.

Israel's Yam Tetis field off coastal Ashkelon was prepared to help compensate for the loss of Egyptian gas and "disruptions to (Israeli) electricity production are not expected", the National Infrastructure Ministry said in a statement.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday his country planned to draw increasingly on its own gas fields.

Reuters

Last Mod: 05 Şubat 2011, 13:40
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