Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Egyptian Gas Supply to Israel Almost Back to Normal: Sources

Platts, Jerusalem, Mar 22, 2011
Gas deliveries from Egypt to Israel have reached 90% of volumes prior to the cutoff on February 5 [please see my post, including remarks, here -- D.R.] and will continue to ramp up this week, Israeli energy industry sources said Tuesday.

Supplies resumed on March 15 after the export pipeline, which was damaged by an explosion, was fixed. Shipments also resumed to Jordan.

Meanwhile, Ampal-American Israel Corp [please see remarks below -- D.R.], a partner in the East Mediterranean Gas Company -- which exports the gas from Egypt to Israel -- said in its annual report Friday [sic] that the future policy of the Egyptian government may not coincide with that of EMG.

The statement said that there is no certainty that Egypt will meet its commitments regarding the supply of natural gas to Israel in the future.

EMG supplied Israel with 2.1 billion cubic meters of gas in 2010 and its contractual commitments are to increase this to 3 Bcm in 2011. EMG has signed commitments to supply 4.8 Bcm/year of gas starting in 2013 [sic].

The Ampal statement follows remarks last week by Egypt's new oil minister Abdallah Ghorab. He said that his ministry is re-examining the gas agreement with Israel, specifically the price at which gas is sold to Israel and other countries.

Ghorab said the agreements, signed under the auspices of the previous minister Sameh Fahmi, include a mechanism that permits amending the gas supply agreements. The minister said this would not be a complicated process.

Jordan is currently paying around $3/MMBtu [please see remarks below -- D.R.] while prices to Israel were raised by nearly 50% last year to around $4.50/MMBtu when the long-term supply agreement was renegotiated.

Israeli energy industry analysts have said the price of Egyptian gas sold to Israel could go as high as $6-6.50/MMBtu. [Full story]

(Also, Egypt wants to raise price of gas to Jordan. EMG is a joint company owned by Egyptian businessman Hussein Salem, Egypt Natural Gas Company, Thailand's PTT, Israel's Merhav Group, Ampal-American Israel Corp, American businessman Sam Zell and Israeli institutional investors. Ampal holds a 16.8% interest in EMG, with 8.2% held directly and 8.6% held through the joint venture with certain Israeli institutional investors, of which Ampal owns 50% and a 4.3% interest is attributable to the institutional investors. Excluding the institutional investors, Ampal has a 12.5% interest in EMG. -- D.R.)

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