Egyptian gas not expected to return soon
18 July 2011
Following the fourth gas explosion to hit the Egyptian pipeline in five months recently, experts have agreed that the resumption of the natural gas flow will not be quick this time, as the damage was quite severe.
“I think that the policy makers in the energy sector should plan alternatives for Egyptian gas in fuel supplies for power generation and industrial users.
Although supply of Egyptian gas is important to Israel for economic and environmental reasons, the country will manage without that gas, but with the burden of higher electricity tariffs and environmental costs.”
Such environmental costs, he explained, will include the consumption of millions of extra tons of more expensive and environmentally harmful substances, like diesel and heavy fuel oil.
“But I believe that the country will manage to pass the critical two years until the gas from the Tamar field, [currently under development by Noble Energy in the US and its Israeli partners] will reach the market,” he said.
“It is a challenge of the fragile Egyptian government to gain civil and military control over Sinai, this is crucial to Israel, especially to the huge smuggling of ammunition from Egypt to the Gaza Strip," he continued.
An official from the Egyptian gas company GasCo told Egyptian newspaper Al-Mesryoon that while the explosion will not affect the gas flow to the city of el-Arish, the blast has “resulted in substantial material damage” on the portion of the line that transports gas to Israel, and will “take a long time” to repair.
Yet despite the expectedly lengthy cease in supply, analysts say Israel will get through the period – as in the previous lapse periods – by using more expensive and polluting fuels as alternatives to Egyptian gas.
“I think that what is the working assumption among the players in the energy sector in Israel, including the government, major gas consumers and competing gas suppliers is that natural gas supply from Egypt to Israel will not resume shortly,” Amit Mor, CEO and energy specialist at the Herzliya Pituach-based Eco Energy consulting firm, told The Jerusalem Post.
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