Shareholders of East Mediterranean Gas Co. will take legal action against Egypt, seeking more than $8 billion in damages for interruptions in natural gas supply through a cross-border pipeline, a company official said.

The shareholders from Israel, the U.S. and Thailand agreed on the action in the wake of three explosions in the past five months that damaged the pipeline, which carries gas from Egypt to Israel, Nimrod Novik, a member of the EMG board, said today. The company will pursue the claims through the International Court of Arbitration, a dispute resolution service run by the Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce.

“The lawyers have advised the government of Egypt as well as the United States and other relevant governments that this process is under way,” Novik said in a telephone interview from his office in Herzliya, north of Tel Aviv .

Egypt restored gas exports to Israel last week at 20 percent of contracted amounts after a July 4 explosion disrupted the network. Among the shareholders in EMG are Egypt National Gas Co., Israeli businessman Yossi Maiman, U.S. billionaire Sam Zell and PTT Pcl (PTT), Thailand’s biggest energy company.

Ampal American Israel (AMPL) Corp., which owns a 12.5 percent stake in the pipeline, declined 0.2 percent to 3.10 shekels at the 4:30 p.m. close in Tel Aviv. The stock has fallen 63 percent since the end of last year.

Source: Bloomberg