By Mohamed Adel
The Ministry of Petroleum sent a memorandum to the prime minister requesting that he allocate approximately $4bn to import gas to keep power plants running throughout the summer and the next year.
The memorandum contained a request for $ 1bn to import 12 shipments of liquefied gas, as well as rent a freighter and dock at Ain Sokhna port and secure letters of guarantee, said Khaled Abdel Badie, chairman of the gas holding company EGAS.
The total amount of gas in 12 shipments amounts to approximately 2.04m cubic metres, equivalent to about 3% of the total needs of power plants throughout the next summer. This translates to 125m cubic metres per day, meaning that import amounts will not be affected in the end.
“If we rationed electricity consumption, the electricity would not cut out in the summer, and if we don’t ration it, the citizens must take responsibility and not ask us to do so,” the chairman said.
The Ministry of Petroleum is currently negotiating 1.01 metres of gas in the form of six extra shipments from the Algerian Sonatrach company. The Russian Gazprom has agreed to supply seven shipments of liquefied gas, and the French EDF has agreed to send five shipments to provide power plants the gas they need during the summer months.
The other $3bn would be used to provide about 500m cubic feet of gas per day to power plants throughout 2015, Abdel Badie said.
He said the Ministry of Finance must provide the necessary liquidity for imports in order to providing liquefied gas in the near future.
Abdel Badie is engaged in negotiations with a number of international oil companies regarding additional gas deliveries throughout the next year.
Egypt will invest in importing gas over the next four years, a project that will cost the state about $12bn. Egypt is currently facing a gas shortage of approximately 2bn cubic feet per day according to the needs of both new and operational power plants and factories.
Abdel Badie said future plans include adding approximately 1.8bn feet for gas production throughout the second half of this year, bringing the total added to the national network to about 600m cubic feet of gas. The rest will be used to compensate for natural decreases in the fields, he said, pointing out that domestic production of Egyptian gas amounts to 4.9bn square feet per day.