Egypt still not supplying gas to Israel


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Egypt has not resumed supplying gas to Israel, despite a month ago repairing a pipeline that was attacked by terrorists.

Egypt’s oil minister said Thursday that the need to secure the pipeline against future attacks, not politics, were preventing the resumption of supplying gas to Israel.

U.S. investors in the East Mediterranean Gas Co., which owns the pipeline, have taken legal steps against the Egyptian government to make sure that gas flow resumes to Israel.

Egypt supplies Israel with more than 40 percent of its natural gas needs to produce electricity.

The supply of gas from Egypt was shut off for a month and never returned to full levels after terrorists in the Sinai tried to blow up the pipeline in February during the uprisings against deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. On March 27, explosives failed to detonate in a second attempt by terrorists to bomb the pipeline, when the gas supply again was completely halted.

Selling gas to Israel has been unpopular on the Egyptian street since the opening of the pipeline in 2008. Mubarak has been accused of giving Israel a sweetheart deal on the gas, since Egypt lost more than $714 million on the deal. 

Egypt has said it will demand a retroactive payment of the difference between the reduced prices it received and market value on the natural gas Israel purchased under Mubarak.

Candidates to replace Mubarak as president have said they plan to renegotiate the contract with Israel.

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