No official requests to import gas from Israel: Petroleum Ministry
A view shows pipelines and crude oil storage tanks at an oil refinery - REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny

CAIRO: Egypt’s oil sector has not received any official requests from local private sector companies to import gas from Israel, a top informed source inside Ministry of Petroleum told Youm7 Wednesday.

The statement denies a recent report by Reuters that Egypt’s Dolphinus Holdings had signed a seven-year deal to import natural gas from Israel’s Tamar field at an estimated $1.2 billion, the partners in the field said Wednesday.

Dolphinus requested to buy a minimum of 5 billion cubic meters of gas in the first three years, Reuters quoted Tamar partners. The gas supplies will be exported through an old pipeline run by the East Mediterranean Gas company (EMG).

Israel had been importing gas from Egypt under a 20-year deal, but dozens of attacks and bombings on the pipeline by suspected militants in the volatile Sinai Peninsula halted the deal in 2012. EMG sued the Egyptian government for damages and losses resulted from the deal’s failure.

“The Petroleum Ministry does not prohibit the private sector from gas purchases, and possibly there are firms negotiating in this regard, but we (the ministry) have not received any import proposals yet,” the source told Youm7.

Meanwhile, he affirmed that Dolphinus Holdings is a private sector company and has sought an agreement to buy gas from Israel.

Any gas import requests are subject to three conditions: the Egyptian government’s approval, achieving an added value in terms of the price,  and to help resolve international arbitrations filed against Egypt, the source detailed.

Egypt has turned from a net energy exporter to a net importer due to soaring demand and a plunge in production, which triggered the worst energy crisis over the past years; rolling power cuts in the summer.

To procure energy for running power plants, the state-owned Egyptian Holding Company for Natural Gas (EGAS) recently signed deals to import 90 shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from five foreign companies. Forty-nine shipments are scheduled to be delivered in 2015 and 2016.

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