Egypt will import six cargoes of liquefied natural gas from Algeria between April and September next year, the oil ministry said on Thursday, helping to ease an energy crunch that has plunged the country into repeated blackouts this year.
The contract would be signed in Algeria at the end of the month, the ministry said in a statement. It gave no details about the size of the cargoes or the price agreed.
Egypt had initially agreed to import five LNG cargoes from Algeria this year but it was not clear if the supplies ever arrived as the Arab world's most populous country lacks the regasification facilities required to process them.
Egypt finalised a long-delayed deal last month with Norway's Hoegh LNG for a floating storage and regasification unit that will allow it to import LNG.
The firm was initially looking to start operations by the third quarter of 2014 but the project was repeatedly delayed and the expected launch date is now the end of March 2015, which means the terminal should be in place in time to receive the first Algerian cargo.
A source at Egypt's state gas board EGAS told Reuters that Egypt had asked for more Algerian LNG supplies to take it into 2016 and expected a response at the end of December.
Egypt's steadily declining gas production and rising consumption have combined to create the worst energy crisis in decades. The government has also fallen behind on payments to foreign oil and gas companies, which has left them reluctant to make the extra investments required to boost output.
The country of 85 million people relies heavily on gas to generate power for households and industry. It has been scrambling to secure natural gas supplies, which its mainly oil-producing Gulf Arab allies cannot provide.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait have sent Egypt billions of dollars worth of petroleum products since the army ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi last summer.
The oil ministry said on Thursday Kuwait was providing Egypt with 1.2 million tonnes of diesel and 120 thousand tonnes of jet fuel annually with special payment facilities. It did not say when those supplies had begun or what prices were agreed.
Kuwaiti had announced last month it would raise its crude oil exports to Egypt to 100,000 barrels per day from 65,000 bpd and was ready to supply it with refined fuel too.