The section will run from Taba, in south Sinai, to the Jordanian port of Aqaba, where it will initially supply gas for the power station being converted to gas-fired production by Alstomof France. Technical challenges presented by the depth of water in the Gulf of Aqaba have required the deadline for completion to be put back by three months to June, project sources say.

Egyptian companies are building the trans-Sinai section of the pipeline, which will be fed with gas from offshore Mediterranean fields. An Egyptian consortium has also been selected for the build-operate-transfer (BOT) contract for the Jordanian stretch of the line. The gas will be transported to a planned power station in the north.

Supplies to Jordan are to start at 1,100 million cubic metres a year (cm/y) by the end of 2003, rising to 3,500 million cm/y after 10 years. There are also plans to extend the pipeline to Lebanon, Syria, Cyprus and Turkey.