Egypt Supply Natural Gas to Jordan

Source: Jordan Times 12/4/2013, Location: Africa

Egypt will continue to supply Jordan with natural gas, despite an energy shortfall in the Arab country, Egyptian Ambassador in Amman Khaled Tharwat said.

The envoy told The Jordan Times that some electricity generation plants in Egypt had been struggling with shortages in gas supplies, which caused power cuts in various cities, adding that Cairo is committed to honouring the deal between the two countries.

The Kingdom, which currently buys nearly 97 per cent of its energy needs, used to import about 240 million cubic feet of Egyptian gas a day under the deal.

The pipeline carrying Egyptian gas to Jordan and Israel has been blown up repeatedly over the past three years, sometimes bringing supplies to a complete halt for months.

The latest blast in the Sinai Peninsula in early July marked the 16th time the pipeline had been attacked since the outbreak of a popular uprising that ousted former president Hosni Mubarak from power in January 2011.

"Every time the pipeline is repaired, Egypt starts immediately pumping gas to Jordan," Tharwat said, adding that the Kingdom was the only country to receive gas supplies as Egypt has cut its gas exports to Syria, Lebanon, Spain and Israel.

Egypt will not stop supplying Jordan with the strategic commodity, he stressed, describing those who carry out attacks against the pipeline as terrorists who target Jordan and Egypt.

Jordan used to rely on natural gas to generate around 80 per cent of electricity.

The ambassador said that regional instability represent a challenge for both countries, adding that Cairo appreciates the importance of having strong economic ties with Jordan, particularly in the natural gas sector.

Except for supply halts caused by attacks on the pipeline, the envoy said that gas supplies stopped for one day only in 2012 and two days in 2013 for technical reasons.

Secretary General of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources Farouk Hiary told The Jordan Times over the phone Tuesday that the pipeline providing gas to Jordan is still under maintenance by the Egyptian side, adding that there is no specific time when it would be ready to resume supplying gas to the Kingdom.

Since the latest attack in July, natural gas supplies have been stopped completely, Hiary said.

Jordan's oil imports bill reached around JD3 billion during the first nine months of this year, according to official figures.

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