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Egyptian plans to avert energy crisis leave experts unconvinced

  • File - Flames are seen after an explosion went off at a gas terminal in Egypt's northern Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011 in El-Arish, Egypt, July 12, 2011. (AP Photo/Ashraf Swailem)

CAIRO: Egyptian Oil Minister Sherif Ismail said Monday that the country would acquire new gas storage and processing technology in time to meet a looming shortfall in energy supplies that is expected to hit in the summer.

Egypt hopes to import liquefied natural gas to stave off the energy crisis, but if it fails to do so, it will have even more limited options for fuel supplies, as already painful shortages are set to become more acute with the approach of summer.

“The target is to have the FSRU [Floating Storage and Regasification Unit] come on stream with some shipments in July,” Ismail said. “However we are working to have it by August.”

Egypt has LNG plants and a pipeline to export gas but currently has no facilities to import LNG.

The tender process to find a company to provide the terminal began around 18 months ago, well before the army toppled Islamist President Mohammad Morsi last July.

Hints since last autumn from the military-backed interim government about securing an LNG import terminal have not yet resulted in a tender award.

Providers say Egypt could have a terminal in place to receive LNG within six months of a contract award, casting doubt on whether the minister’s target is realistic.

Ismail told Reuters last month that Egypt needed $1 billion worth of petroleum products and to secure significant natural gas supplies to meet this summer’s energy needs.

Negotiations are underway with foreign firms, including Algeria’s Sonatrach, to secure natural gas imports to run power plants in Egypt this summer, Ismail was quoted as saying last week. He said Monday that these talks were ongoing.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 25, 2014, on page 5.
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Summary

Egyptian Oil Minister Sherif Ismail said Monday that the country would acquire new gas storage and processing technology in time to meet a looming shortfall in energy supplies that is expected to hit in the summer.

Ismail told Reuters last month that Egypt needed $1 billion worth of petroleum products and to secure significant natural gas supplies to meet this summer's energy needs.

Negotiations are underway with foreign firms, including Algeria's Sonatrach, to secure natural gas imports to run power plants in Egypt this summer, Ismail was quoted as saying last week.


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