British Gas to resume talks with Israel on Gaza gas

Daily Star Egypt Staff
2 Min Read

Company’s preference remains selling the gas to Egypt

CAIRO: British Gas was to resume talks with Israel Thursday on the country s possible purchase of Palestinian gas discovered off the shores of the troubled Gaza Strip, a company official told AFP. BG Managing Director for the Mediterranean Basin and Africa Stuart Fysh was expected in Israel Thursday but the company s preferred option remains to sell the gas to Egypt. British Gas abruptly broke off negotiations with Israel last month after five years of horse-trading, saying the Jewish state was not ready to pay the market price. This option, which aims at conveying gas through an underwater pipeline to be liquefied in the Idku plant in northern Egypt, remains quite clearly the best in our opinion, BG chairman in Egypt Oscar Prieto said. The resumption of talks comes a week after a visit to London by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who discussed the issue with Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, sources close to the negotiations said. British Gas clinched a 20-year concession on the Gaza Maritime fields, in partnership with Consolidated Contractors Co., a firm owned by the powerful Palestinian families Khoury and Sabbagh. British Gas says such contracts should be negotiated on a purely commercial basis and wants to sell its gas at prices that conform to the current market rate of around $7 per million BTU (British Thermal Units). The key question is prices. We should not politicize this case, even if it s almost impossible in this region, Palestinian Energy Authority Chairman Omar Kittaneh told AFP. The official argued that it was up to British Gas to finalize a deal, stressing that the operator still favored the Egyptian solution . Nothing has been sealed, neither with Israel nor Egypt. We are waiting for British Gas to call us and make an offer, Kittaneh said. AFP

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