Wednesday, April 27, 2011

EMG's Gas Supply to Israel Interrupted Due to EGAS Mandatory Shut Down Procedure after an Explosion in the Egyptian National Grid in the Sinai

Ampal website, Apr 27, 2011
Ampal-American Israel Corporation (Nasdaq: AMPL), a holding company in the business of acquiring and managing interests in various businesses, announced today that it has been advised by East Mediterranean Gas Co.("EMG"), in which Ampal has a 12.5% interest, that shortly after 03:30 last night there was an explosion at a gas metering station 2 Km [1.2 Miles] from Al Arish, Egypt and some 30 Km [nearly 19 Miles] from the EMG terminal. The station is owned and operated by Gasco, the Egyptian gas transport company, which is a subsidiary of EGAS, the Egyptian national gas company (EMG's gas supplier). Following the explosion EGAS has initiated its standard shut down procedure affecting gas transportation throughout the Sinai Peninsula and gas supply to Jordan, Lebanon, Syria [i.e., Arab Gas Pipeline/AGP network, please see remarks below -- D.R.]; to major Egyptian industries and gas consumers in the Sinai; and to EMG [i.e., Egypt's gas exporting company via the 100-kilometer/62-mile El Arish-Ashkelon submarine pipeline -- D.R.].

The extent of the damage to Gasco's metering station and the estimated repair period is unknown at this point. [Full story]

(The interruption of gas supplies is the second in almost three months to the pipeline network that sends gas to Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Israel. On Feb 5, a fire and explosion at a gas metering station forced Gasco to cut off supplies to the Arab Gas Pipeline/AGP linking Egypt to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, as well as the pipeline supplying Egyptian gas to Israel---please see my post, including remarks, here. Also, please see my post here. According to the Oil and Gas Journal, Egypt’s estimated proven gas reserves stand at 77.2 trillion cubic feet/tcf as of January 1, 2011, an increase from January 1, 2010 estimates of 58.5 tcf and the third highest in Africa after Nigeria (about 187 tcf) and Algeria (159 tcf)---please see Aaron and David Rachovich, "World's Top 22 Natural Gas Proven Reserve Holders," here. Egypt's natural gas sector is expanding rapidly with production quadrupling between 1998 and 2009. In 2009, Egypt produced roughly 2.3 tcf and consumed 1.6 tcf. Egypt's gas production totaled around 66 billion cubic meters/bcm or c. 2.3 tcf in 2010 too. With the ongoing expansion of the AGP and LNG facilities, Egypt will continue to be an important supplier of natural gas to Europe and the Mediterranean region. According to Cedigaz, in 2009 the Egyptian electricity sector accounted for the largest share of natural gas consumption (54 percent) followed by industrial sector (29 percent). While still a relatively small share, Egypt is beginning to incorporate natural gas into the transport sector through the use and development of compressed natural gas vehicles and fueling stations. Egypt began exporting natural gas in the mid-2000s with the completion of the two segments of the AGP in 2003-2006 and the startup of the first three LNG trains at Damietta in 2005. In 2009, Egypt exported close to 650 billion cubic feet/bcf of natural gas, around 70 percent of which was exported in the form of LNG and the remaining 30 percent via pipelines. Egyptian pipeline exports travel through the AGP that provides gas to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon with further additions being planned. The El Arish-Ashkelon pipeline addition, which branches away from the AGP in the Sinai Peninsula and connects to Ashkelon, Israel, began operations in 2008---please see EIA, Egypt Country Analysis Brief, Feb 2011, here. Egypt’s main focus is to increase gas production and to raise its profile as a regional gas and LNG exporter. But its ambitions for increasing exports have been hampered by rising internal gas demand. The need to alleviate domestic shortages has caused a drop in Egypt’s LNG exports, which fell last year to 9 bcm or 6.7 million tons from 13 bcm or 459 bcf in 2009---please see PIW, Apr 11, 2011, here. UPDATE: Egyptian gas exports to Israel resumed on Friday June 10, 2011. -- D.R.)

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