Egypt denies plans to re-import natural gas from Israel

The state-run Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) has denied reports that the government intended to buy back quantities of natural gas earlier exported to Israel in a bid to offset the country's current electricity shortfall.

The denial came in the wake of reports in the local opposition press that the government planned to buy back some 1.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Israel.

"Egypt doesn't need to import natural gas," EGAS head Mohammad Lateef insisted. "Egypt's national gas production is more than sufficient to cover the needs of government sectors."

Lateef went on to describe the press reports as "inaccurate and laughable."

According to data collected by the state-run General Petroleum Corporation, 30 billion cubic feet of natural gas was exported to Israel via offshore pipeline during the 2008/09 fiscal year. Total revenue accruing to Egypt from that exchange amounted to an estimated US$90 million.

"We will not re-import gas from Israel since this would be technically impossible," Egyptian Natural Gas Company Chairman Khaled Abd al-Badie stressed in a press statement on Tuesday without elaborating.

In 2005, Egypt signed an agreement with Israel to export 107 billion cubic meters of Egyptian natural gas to the Hebrew state over a 20-year period. The amount of gas earmarked for export was increased in 2008 after Israel agreed to raise the purchase price following charges by Egyptian opposition figures that gas was being sold at less than international prices.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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