Egypt has resumed its gas supplies to Israel and Jordan after a 45-day gap caused by an attack on a pipeline in the Egyptian side of the Sinai desert, Egyptian officials said.
Israel and Jordan also confirmed the resumption of gas supplies from Egypt after they were halted on April 27 after unidentified gunmen blew up a section of the pipeline near the Sinai town of El-Arish.
That attack had forced the shutting down of valves controlling the flow of gas from the main terminal in Port Said on the Mediterranean coast, disrupting the flow of gas into Israel and Jordan.
It was the second such attack on the pipeline in a month, following an attempt by unidentified armed men to blow up the pipeline on March 27. On that occasion, the explosive devices planted by the attackers had failed to detonate. They were later defused by Egyptian security forces.
A previous explosion had rocked the pipeline on February 5, when the popular unrest that eventually ousted President Hosni Mubarak from power was progressing. The explosion had disrupted the gas flow to Israel and Jordan until March 15.
Egypt, which is estimated to have natural gas reserves of about 62 trillion cubic feet, exports gas to Israel, Jordan and Syria. While Syria depends on Egyptian gas for generating almost 80 percent of its electricity, about 40 percent of Israel’s gas requirements come from Egypt.
However, Egypt’s current military rulers have indicated that they would soon consider supplying gas to other nations. The move came amidst allegations that the ousted regime of President Hosni Mubarak had conspired with a local businessman to sell gas to Israel at reduced rates with the intention of defrauding the exchequer of several millions of dollars.
The developments come four months after Mubarak was forced to step down from office on February 11 following mass protests across the country against his 30-year rule, handing over control of the country to the military.
Mubarak, his two sons and about a dozen former ministers and businessmen with links to the ousted regime have since been detained and are facing investigations over a number of allegations ranging from corruption and money laundering to abuse of authority and squandering state wealth.