Natural gas supply from Egypt to Israel and neighbouring countries has been halted again due to discovery of a leak, said an Israeli partner in the East Mediterranean Gas (EMG) consortium.

Gas supply to Israeli customers was set to resume on 14 March after completion of repair work and testing of the pipeline that was damaged in an explosion and fire on Feb. 5, Ampal-American Israel Corp said in a statement.

It initially was slated to resume on March 4 but was delayed several times.
“While resuming commercial gas supply by GASCO (the Egyptian gas transport company) to EMG and its Israeli customers, a leak was discovered when the gas pressure exceeded 60 bars,” Ampal said.

“The GASCO field team is currently working to repair the leak in its system. Consequently, commercial gas supply to Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria as well as to major Egyptian cement industries and power gas consumers in the Sinai Peninsula awaits completion of repair.”

Egyptian state television and local government officials had reported saboteurs blew up a pipeline that runs through Egypt’s North Sinai, disrupting flows to Israel and Jordan.

EMG is owned by Egyptian businessman Hussain Salem, Egypt Natural Gas Co, Thailand’s PTT, American businessman Sam Zell, Ampal-American and Israel’s Merhav.

EMG supplies 45 percent of the gas needs of Israel’s electric utility. The rest comes from off Israeli shores.

(Source: Reuters)