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Egypt Expects First Israeli Gas by Year-End, Oil Minister Says

Salma El Wardany

(Bloomberg) -- Egypt expects to begin receiving natural gas from Israel by the end of 2019, the oil minister said, fulfilling a $15 billion deal that will position the North African country as an energy re-export hub on Europe’s doorstep.

Egypt will initially receive about 200 million standard cubic feet per day of the gas, with supplies rising eventually to a daily 500 million sometime in 2020, the minister Tarek El-Molla said Tuesday in an interview in Abu Dhabi.

Israel’s Delek Drilling LP, Noble Energy Inc. and Egyptian East Gas Co. signed a deal last year to buy control of the East Mediterranean Gas Co. pipeline, which connects southern Israel to Egypt’s Sinai peninsula and was initially built to export Egyptian gas to Israel. The link has been idle for about six years due to a domestic gas shortage and repeated militant attacks on an overland stretch of pipeline in the Sinai.

The gas agreement has added an economic dimension to a relationship dominated by security since the two countries signed a peace treaty that changed the face of the Middle East four decades ago. It also advances Egypt’s plan to capitalize on its own giant Zohr field and supply gas-hungry Europe.

El-Molla also said:

Egypt plans a tender for oil and gas exploration in its western Mediterranean fields in the first quarter of 2020Country has given initial approval for BP Plc’s sale of its interests in the Gulf of Suez concession to Dragon Oil PlcEgypt canceled its export tender for liquefied natural gas this month due to “very low” prices and because it would “rather not sell at a loss”The Damietta LNG plant will restart near the end of the year, with exports beginning at 500 million cubic feet per day and increasing to 700 million in 2020The Idku LNG plant currently exports from 600 million cubic feet per day to 1 billionEgypt currently produces 7 billion cubic feet per day of gas and will reach about 7.5 billion by year-endCountry is now meeting all its domestic gas needs of 6 billion cubic feet per day, with the rest being exported

--With assistance from Mirette Magdy.

To contact the reporter on this story: Salma El Wardany in Abu Dhabi at selwardany@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Nayla Razzouk at nrazzouk2@bloomberg.net, Michael Gunn, Bruce Stanley

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