Egypt has once again repaired the pipeline supplying natural gas to Israel - and the gas resumed flowing yesterday.
This is the sixth time the pipeline has been vandalized in the Sinai since Hosni Mubarak's regime fell. The pipe was out of commission for nine days this time around. It was fixed relatively quickly given the scope of the damage.
This time, the explosion damaged the underground pipe itself; apparently a bomb was buried in the ground. In the past, the vandals targeted above-ground facilities.
As always, the gas flow is being restored gradually to ensure that the supply system is working.
Egypt has not provided Israel with gas under its contractual obligation for 230 days so far this year. The flow was cut entirely on 190 of those days.
As a result, Israeli electricity rates have increased sharply. Due to the lack of gas, the Israel Electric Corporation has had to resort to more expensive fuels, and power prices are up 14% so far this year.
If the electricity utility has no Egyptian gas at its disposal next year, its fuel expenses will be NIS 14 billion to NIS 20 billion higher than planned, and it will face an operating deficit of NIS 6 billion, the IEC said over the weekend.
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