Egypt names new chairman of state gas company

CAIRO: Egypt has appointed Khaled Abdel Badie as chairman of state-run Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS), the Oil Ministry said Wednesday, as the country grapples with a looming energy crunch.

Badie, the vice-chairman of EGAS, replaces Taher Abdelrahman. The statement, which announced a number of changes in the leadership of state energy companies, did not list a reason for the shake-up.

Abdelrahman was named head of Khalda Petroleum Company, a joint venture owned by U.S. oil and gas producer Apache Corp and state-run Egyptian General Petroleum Corp.

Political turmoil since a popular uprising ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011 has paralyzed decision-making in Egypt’s chaotic energy sector. Tough decisions needed to resolve problems such as ballooning fuel subsidies have largely been postponed.

The military-backed interim government, installed last year after the overthrow of elected President Mohammad Morsi, says it needs an additional $1 billion worth of petroleum products to meet energy needs for the summer, when demand for airconditioning soars.

It also requires liquefied natural gas for power generation, in short supply due to declining local production, even as Egypt cut into exports of LNG previously promised to foreign firms..

EGAS issued a tender in October for a floating terminal needed to import LNG, saying that the government wanted it in place by April, before temperatures rise and consumption spikes. The tender has not yet been awarded, and experts say that time has run out for a terminal to be delivered and installed before the summer.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 13, 2014, on page 6.




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