Minister: Egypt won’t offer Israel lower gas prices than Jordan

Egypt would not accept any export deal that offers Israel lower natural gas prices than it charges Jordan, Petroleum Minister Abdallah Ghorab said Tuesday.

His statements came one day after official ministry sources said Jordan had agreed to raise the price of its Egyptian gas imports to US$4 per million British thermal units (BTUs), up from US$1.50 in its previous contract.

Egypt's post-revolution interim leaders have promised to review gas contracts, some of which are well below market averages of $6 to $7 per million BTUs.

The pipeline used for transferring gas to the two countries was targeted by two bomb attacks since February, bringing the supply to a halt. Experimental testing on the pumping of gas resumed earlier this month after repairs were made to the pipeline that was attacked in April, Ampal-American Israel Corp said.

Israel receives up to 45 percent of its gas from Egypt under a 20-year deal signed in 2005.

Egypt has almost concluded negotiations with Jordan and a new contract should be signed by the end of June, Ghorab told Al-Masry Al-Youm on Tuesday.

"We are seeking the highest price for the time being and will include a contract term allowing the prices to be reviewed after a specific period," he said.

Successful negotiations with Jordan would not suggest a failure in talks with the company responsible for exports to Israel, Ghorab said. 

He emphasized that he would not offer Israel gas prices lower than those negotiated with Jordan.

Ghorab said public discontent with gas export policies would not be an effective argument for dealing with importers as delicate calculations are made to quote the rates. 

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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