CAIRO: Egypt has taken steps to transform the Arab Gas Pipeline Project to an Arab Gas Network, which will be linked to Europe through Turkey, announced the Ministry of Petroleum.
Egyptian gas is scheduled to reach Syria before the end of the year and Lebanon by early next year. It was agreed that Syria would implement the 60 km link inside its territories to connect the line to Turkish borders in preparation for the link of the two networks by next year.
Fahmi, Sufian Al-Allaw, Syrian minister of petroleum and mineral resources, Khalid Shraydah, Jordanian minister of energy and mineral resources, and Mohamed El Safadi, Lebanese minister of energy, were all present at the meeting.
In talks last week, the idea of expanding the pipeline into a network was discussed after Iraq had declared its intention to join the countries benefiting from the pipeline. Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan agreed to make use of other resources of gas to be pumped through this network to increase their economic return.
“We agreed on forming a joint working group to study the use of this network amongst the participating countries, which paves the way to greater flexibility in gas exports and imports among [the participating countries], Minster of Petroleum Sameh Fahmi said.
The ministers will be accompanied by Turkish Energy Minister on a field visit early next month to the work sites of the Arab Gas Pipeline in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
“This project will bring in great returns for Egypt and the willingness of Arab countries to cooperate together, creating a large beneficial network, is very encouraging, the minister’s office told the Daily News Egypt.
Syria is currently studying the possibility of developing the Iraqi gas field, Ekas, located at the Syrian-Iraqi border. This comes in preparation to link the gas field – known for its abundant gas reserves – with the Syrian network.
The Arab Gas Pipeline carries Egyptian gas from Al-Arish, Egypt through Taba, reaching the Jordanian Aqaba. It was inaugurated on July 27, 2003, and has supplied Jordan with its natural gas needs ever since. The pipeline’s second phase, which became operational in 2006, expands northwards from the Jordanian Aqaba port to Al Rehab city near the Jordan-Syria border.
“We are hoping that soon, the pipeline will export gas to Turkey and Cyprus, allowing Egyptian gas to enter European markets. This will be a turning point for Egyptian natural gas, the minister’s office said.
Last week, Shraydah announced that an initial agreement had been reached to increase the quantities of exported gas to his country, in order to meet the growing demand for energy.
Al-Safadi, said that the Arab gas will be utilized in developing and upgrading power generation in north Lebanon.