Egypt to resume gas supplies to Israel by Friday

Egypt to resume gas supplies to Israel by Friday

Sources inform Globes that Egyptian gas supplier East Mediterranean Gas Company has told its customers that it will resume supplies by the end of the week, newspaper The Jerusalem Post reported.

EMG's natural gas supplies to Israel were halted on February 5 following an explosion due to sabotage at a station on the gas pipeline between Suez and El Arish in Northern Sinai.

The terminal is part of a pipeline system that transports gas from Egypt's Port Said, on the Mediterranean Sea, to Israel, Syria and Jordan.

The Sinai Peninsula, home to Beduin tribesmen, has been the scene of clashes between residents and security forces in the past.

Ampal-American Israel Corporation, which owns 12.5 percent of EMG, had reported previously that gas supplies would be resumed on February 17, only to announced the day before that deadline that resumption was delayed until later in February.

Other shareholders in EMG are Hussein Salem (28%), an Egyptian businessman who was a close confidante to former President Hosni Mubarak, Thai co PTT (25%), Merhav and Ampal, both controlled by Yosef Maiman (20.6%), Sam Zell and David Fisher (12%), the Egyptian government (10%) and Israel institutional investors (4.3%).

Meanwhile, Oil Refineries Ltd. is exposed to millions of dollars in damages due to the delays in the delivery of Egyptian natural gas.

The financial damage to Oil Refineries can be estimated from its announcement of the supply contract with EMG, which stated that the company would save $130 million a year by the switch to natural gas. Oil Refineries is also exposed to a personal directive of Minister of Environmental Protection Gilad Erdan, requiring the company to switch to natural gas by May 22, or face criminal proceedings.

Oil Refineries said, "The agreement with the Egyptians is part of an international agreement. According to statements by the Egyptian military council, the agreements will be kept, so we have no doubt that the gas will be delivered. Oil Refineries has alternatives for every contingency, which will be weighed if a problem emerges, but, as we said, we believe that the contracts will be honored."

According to the Natural Gas Pipeline Company, construction of the pipeline (to Haifa Bay) has been completed, and the application to begin its operation has been submitted to the Natural Gas Authority for approval. In any event, it would be improper to impose personal directives on Oil Refineries to switch to the use of natural gas if it does not arrive because of force majeure or other circumstances beyond the company's control."

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