World Bulletin/News Desk
An Egyptian energy official has dismissed reports saying that the country is in talks with Israeli energy companies for gas imports and possible pipeline projects.
On Tuesday, Avner Oil & Gas, leading a group of energy companies that discovered large amounts of natural gas off Israel's Mediterranean coast, said that they were in talks to export the gas to Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian territories. The talks, the company said, also covered the possibility of building pipelines to help export the gas to Europe.
However, Taher Abdel-Rahim, chairman of the Egyptian Gas Holding Company (EGAS), which runs Egypt's gas pipeline network, dismissed the claims.
"We have not made such negotiations and will not go into talks in the meantime with any international companies about such proposals," Abdel-Rahim said.
Abdel-Rahim said such deals cannot be completed without the knowledge of his company.
"Even if there are any talks between private sector companies and the companies that discovered gas off Israel's coasts, EGAS must approve such agreement before it can be activated," he elaborated.
The companies led by Noble Energy seeks to use the gas discovered recently off Israeli shores, mainly in the fields of Tamar, with an estimated 280 billion cubic metres, and Leviathan, with an estimated 530 billion cubic metres. Tamar started production in March, while Leviathan is due to start operating in 2016 or 2017.
Israel is already connected to Egypt via a gas pipeline, but the group would need to build pipelines to Jordan, Turkey and the Palestinian territories if it wanted to export the gas to Europe.
"This pipeline has been offline since the cancelation of the agreement between the Egyptian General Petroleum Co and EGAS on one side and East Mediterranean Gas Company (EGM) on the other in April 2012," Abdel-Rahim said.
Last year, Egypt scrapped a controversial gas deal with Israel, which used to supply Israel with 40% of its natural gas over a payment dispute.
"Raising the issue in the time being may serve as a tester by the international companies working in Israel to see if the Egyptian side is interested in importing Israeli gas," he added.Last Mod: 07 Ağustos 2013, 13:45