Egyptian Minister Approves British Import of Israeli Gas

Petroleum minister says there is no 'embarrassment' in Egypt indirectly importing Israeli gas, given Egypt's economic situation and interests.

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An Israeli gas platform in the Mediterranean Sea, February 25, 2013.
An Israeli gas platform in the Mediterranean Sea, February 25, 2013.Credit: Reuters

The Egyptian petroleum minister said Wednesday he is fine with allowing British BG Group to import gas from Israel, Daily News Egypt reported.

“As the minister of petroleum, I remain of the opinion that there is no problem in letting BG Group import Israeli gas to protect Egypt from international fines and arbitration,” said Sherif Ismail. He noted the company has yet to ask for government approval to start importing gas, according to the Egyptian daily.

“There is no embarrassment in Egypt using the gas the BG Group imports from Israel given our economic issues,” the minister stressed, noting that working indirectly with Israel “is no longer taboo” for the Egyptian government.

“Whatever is in Egypt’s interest must be implemented immediately as we are dealing with an energy crisis,” the Daily News quoted the minister as saying.
Egypt suffers from a fuel shortage and a severe decline in production by foreign partners as a result of the Egyptian government failing to pay its debts, according to the report. The government cut energy subsidies Saturday in a move to reduce the budget deficit and decrease energy waste.

BG Group is building a pipeline to import gas from the Leviathan gas field, located off the Israeli coast, and is planning to pay Israel nearly $30 billion to import some seven billion cubic meters of gas for a period of 15 years.

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