Gas Flow from Egypt Resumes
Gas began to flow again from Sinai to Israel Tuesday night as Egyptian workers completed repairs to the pipeline that was damaged in a terrorist attack Sunday night. Gas began to flow again after engineers determined that the pipeline had sustained only minor damage, and that there was no danger of a gas leak.
Israeli energy officials were quoted as saying that the terrorists caused major damage to a pipeline moving gas south, into Egypt, and that the bomb that went off did not cause major damage to the pipeline that transports gas to Israel and Jordan. Egyptian officials turned off the gas flow in all pipelines in the area immediately after the attack.
This was the third attack in the past five months on the pipeline. Israeli security officials were quoted in news reports as attributing the attacks to Sinai Bedouin, who “are constantly seeing how far they can push Egyptian security, especially since the fall of Mubarak. They are trying to advance the standing of their tribes, showing how important they are to security in Sinai.” In any event, the officials said they did not believe that the Bedouin were singling out Israel's pipeline for attacks.
Currently, Israel receives 40% of its natural gas from Egypt, and it is used mostly for generating electricity. Israel Electric Company officials estimate that Egyptian gas is responsible for about 20% of Israel's electrical production. The rest of the gas is supplied from fields off Israel's coast, managed by Noble Energy, Delek, and several smaller suppliers.
Since the resignation of Hosni Mubarak as President, Egypt has been talking about significantly raising the price of the gas it sells to Israel – but several other suppliers, most notably Noble Energy, have been talking about doing so as well. Last week the IEC warned that if gas prices do rise, they would be forced to hike electricity prices by at least 20%.