Egypt's new oil minister to review gas contracts with Israel

17 March 2011

Israel receives 40 per cent of gas from Egypt

Egypt’s new oil minister Abdullah Ghorab has said that he will consider amending contracts for gas exports, including the agreement with Israel, local media has reported.

The country currently supplies 40 per cent of natural gas consumed in Israel as part of the 1979 peace accords.

Egypt’s opposition has long maintained that gas was being sold to Israel at preferential prices.

Ghorab will have no legal decision-making powers until a new government has been formed, and will instead oversee the day-to-day running of the industry. The new minister pledged to honour agreements with international oil companies (IOC), and focus on supplying the domestic market.

Egypt replaced its oil minister on 7 March for the second time since late February, as the provisional government tries to rid the cabinet of members with ties to former President Hosni Mubarak.

Ghorab, who headed state-owned Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) before his appointment, succeeds Mahmoud Latif, who in February replaced the long-serving Sameh Fahmy.

Fahmy, who transformed Egypt into a major oil and gas producer, is barred from leaving the country due to an impending probe into improper financial dealings.

Egypt is set to hold a referendum on 19 March on amendments to the constitution. The amendments would restore full judicial supervision of elections, seen as key to preventing fraud.

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