CAIRO: The prices of exported Egyptian gas will be reviewed, including the price of gas to Israel, the Ministry of Petroleum said.
Assistant Minister for Natural Gas Ismail Karrara reportedly told the local press that the ministry was intending to renegotiate all gas deals, including the Israeli one, to bring it in line with current world prices.
The controversial agreement to export gas to Israel was signed in 2005.
Karrara also denied that Egyptian gas was already flowing to Israel, despite press reports and Israeli statements to the contrary.
The assistant minister added that a new price for the Israeli deal had not been proposed yet, but in light of the increased oil and gas prices worldwide, Egypt would be looking to renegotiate deals with, amongst others, Spain and France.
Last week Members of Parliament had sought a motion of no confidence in Petroleum Minister Sameh Fahmy over the Israel gas deal.
Karrara said gas was not yet being exported to Israel because the pipeline which will transport the gas was still being tested. Additionally, the project was to be postponed until a new price had been set and agreed on.
The gas is being transported via a 100-km-long underwater pipeline from Al-Arish near the troubled Egypt-Gaza border to the Israeli port of Ashkelon. The source of the gas is a field in Northern Sinai.
Karrara’s statements come after the Industry Committee of the PA decided to review all oil and gas contracts with other countries to see whether they were appropriate in light of the surge in oil prices worldwide. The committee had submitted a list of questions to Fahmy concerning the contracts.
The decision to sell gas to Israel has been met with objections from opposition groups, with a campaign being started to put a stop to the exportation.
The campaign has brought together figures from across the opposition spectrum in a committee that plans to adopt a multi-pronged approach in the executive, judicial and economic branches to achieve its objective.
The campaigner hope to achieve this by lobbying for parliamentary questioning, attempting to annul the deal in court and proposing the inception of a public offering for Egyptian gas.
A major objection to the deal has been that it was not subject to a vote in parliament.
A member of the campaign, Abdallah Helmy, previously told Daily News Egypt, “We want this proposed in the PA, should we look to sell gas to Israel in the first place. We want this to be voted on so it’s every MP’s responsibility, so that we and the people know who is with us and who is against us.
Another major contention concerning the deal is the favorable prices in the contract, which led to the ministry’s decision to review them. Recent price hikes adopted by the government contained an increase in fuel prices.
Muslim Brotherhood MP Sobhy Saleh previously told Daily News Egypt, “Why is the gas not being exported at world prices? How can we subsidize the Zionist economy when we are facing such economic problems at home? The Egyptian economy is subsidizing Israeli citizens while gas prices are being raised at home.