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Israeli gas exports to Egypt resume in small volumes

Israeli gas exports Egypt Reuters/Azad Lashkari
Egypt's cabinet said that gas imports fell to zero from 800 million cubic feet per day, contributing to a deficit of power generation

Israeli natural gas exports to Egypt have resumed after a disruption last weekend but in small volumes, an official in Egypt’s petroleum ministry said on Thursday, without specifying the current flow.

Three people with knowledge of the matter also told Reuters on Tuesday the flow had resumed, with two saying it had only been reduced, not halted.

The disruption in exports follows Israel’s suspension of production at Chevron’s Tamar gas field on October 9, shortly after fighting escalated with Hamas in Gaza. In parallel, supplies were also redirected through a pipeline in Jordan, rather than a direct subsea pipeline to Egypt.

Egypt’s cabinet said in a statement last Sunday that gas imports fell to zero from 800 million cubic feet per day (mcfd), contributing to a deficit of power generation that has caused months of power cuts.

An official in the Leviathan project, however, said on Tuesday that “exports to Egypt are ongoing continuously, which shows the project’s commitment to its customers and the Egyptian market. Gas production at Leviathan has continued throughout this period”.

One source with knowledge of the matter said that a brief outage at Israel’s offshore gas field Karish led to more gas from Leviathan being pumped into Israel, reducing exports but not halting them.

Egypt relies on Israeli gas imports to meet some of its domestic demand, as well as for re-exports that have been a significant earner of scarce foreign currency.

There is growing demand for gas from the population of 105 million. The country has also seen its own gas production decline to a three-year low this year.

It has also grappled with power shortages in the summer as heatwaves have driven up demand for cooling.