Egypt to revise all foreign gas deals

Egypt’s prime minister has asked for the revision off all contracts to supply gas abroad, including to Israel, the official news agency MENA reported.

Egypt supplies an estimated 40 percent of Israel’s gas in what, under ousted Egyptian president, was a highly controversial deal.

Prime Minister Essam Sharraf “has directed the revision and review of all gas contracts Egypt agreed to with all countries, including Jordan and Israel,” MENA said.

The contracts are to be revisited so the gas “would be sold with deserved prices that achieve the highest returns for Egypt,” it added.

Sharraf is to meet Jordanian Energy Minister Khaled Tuqan on April 14 to discuss the deal with his country, MENA said, adding the revisions could bring Egypt an extra $3 billion-$4 billion in revenue.

Shipments of gas resumed to Israel in March, after they were interrupted in a February 5 attack on a Sinai pipeline as Egypt was rocked by protests that brought down Mubarak.

In December, four Israeli firms signed agreements to import gas under a 20-year contract valued at $5 billion-$10 billion (3.7-7.4 billion euros).

The contract was signed with the Israeli-Egyptian East Mediterranean Gas (EMG), in which Ampal-American Israel Corp has a 12.5 percent stake.

EMG has signed a number of agreements with Israeli firms since 2005, and the new contracts will boost the volume of Egyptian gas imports to six billion cubic metres, worth billion (14 billion euros).

The agreement has been repeatedly challenged in Egyptian courts on the grounds of its secretive clauses and because it was done without parliamentary consultation.

A court imposed an injunction on the deal, in a move ignored by the government. A higher court overturned the freeze in 2010, on condition the government regulate the quantity and price of gas exported.

Both the Israeli foreign ministry and the national infrastructure ministry, which is responsible for energy, declined to comment on the report.

(Source: AFP)


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