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Arab Gas Pipeline


The Arab Gas Pipeline is a natural gas pipeline in the Middle East. It exports Egyptian natural gas to Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, with a branch underwater pipeline to Israel. It has a total length of 1,200 kilometres (750 mi) at a cost of US$1.2 billion.

 
Arab Gas Pipeline
Location of Arab Gas Pipeline
Location of Arab Gas Pipeline
Location
Country EgyptJordanSyriaLebanonTurkey
General direction south-north
From Arish
Passes through AqabaAmmanEl RehabDeir AliDamascusBaniyasAleppo
To HomsTripoli, (Kilis)
General information
Type natural gas
Partners EGAS
ENPPI
PETROGET
GASCO
SPC
Commissioned 2003
Technical information
Length 1,200 km (750 mi)
Maximum discharge 10.3 billion cubic metres (360×109 cu ft)

As of March 2012, the gas supply to Israel and Jordan stopped due to 13 separate attacks on GASCO's feeder pipeline to El-Arish that had taken place since the beginning of the 2011 Egyptian revolution—carried out by Bedouin complaining of economic neglect and discrimination by the central Cairo government. By spring 2013 the pipeline returned to continuous operation, however, due to persistent natural gas shortages in Egypt, the gas supply to Israel was suspended indefinitely while the supply to Jordan was resumed, but at a rate substantially below the contracted amount. The pipeline has since been targeted by militants several more times.

 

 

Description[edit]

Arish–Aqaba section[edit]

The first section of pipeline runs from Arish in Egypt to Aqaba in Jordan. It has three segments. The first 250 kilometres (160 mi) long overland segment links Al-Arish to Taba on the Red Sea. It also consists of a compressor station in Arish and a metering station in Taba. The second segment is a 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) long subsea segment from Taba to Aqaba. The third segment, which includes also a metering station, is a 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) long onshore connection to the Aqaba Thermal Power Station.[5]

The $220 million Arish–Aqaba section was completed in July 2003.[6] The diameter of the pipeline is 36 inches (910 mm) and has a capacity of 10.3 billion cubic metres (360 billion cubic feet) of natural gas per year.[7] The Egyptian consortium that developed this section included EGAS, ENPPI, PETROGET and the Egyptian Natural Gas Company (GASCO).

Aqaba–El Rehab section[edit]

The second section extended the pipeline in Jordan from Aqaba through Amman to El Rehab, (24 kilometres (15 mi) from the Syrian border). The length of this section is 390 kilometres (240 mi) and it cost $300 million.[8] The second section was commissioned in 2005.

El Rehab–Homs section[edit]

The third section has a total length of 319 kilometres (198 mi) from Jordan to Syria. A 90 kilometres (56 mi) stretch runs from the Jordan–Syrian border to the Deir Ali power station. From there the pipeline runs through Damascus to the Al Rayan gas compressor station near Homs. This sections includes four launching/receiving stations, 12 valve stations and a fiscal metering station with a capacity of 1.1 billion cubic metres (39 billion cubic feet), and it supplies Tishreen and Deir Ali power stations. The section was completed in February 2008, and it was built by the Syrian Petroleum Company and Stroytransgaz, a subsidiary of Gazprom.[9][10]

Homs–Tripoli connection[edit]

The Homs–Tripoli connection runs from the Al Rayan compressor station to Baniyas in Syria and then via 32-kilometre (20 mi) long stretch to Tripoli, Lebanon. The agreement to start supplies was signed on 2 September 2009 and test run started on 8 September 2009.[7]Regular gas supplies started on 19 October 2009 and gas is delivered to the Deir Ammar power station.[11]

There is a proposal to extend the branch from Banias to Cyprus.[12]

Arish–Ashkelon pipeline[edit]

The Arish–Ashkelon pipeline is a 100 kilometres (62 mi) submarine gas pipeline connecting the Arab Gas Pipeline with Israel. Although it is not officially a part of the Arab Gas Pipeline project, it branches off from the same pipeline in Egypt. The pipeline is built and operated by the East Mediterranean Gas Company (EMG), a joint company of Mediterranean Gas Pipeline Ltd (28%), the Israeli company Merhav (25%), PTT (25%), EMI-EGI LP (12%), and Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (10%).[13] The pipeline became operational in February 2008, at a cost of $180–$550 million (the exact figure is disputed).[14] It has since ceased operation due to sabotage of its feeder pipeline in Sinai and gas shortages in Egypt. However, although originally intended for transporting gas from Egypt to Israel, the gas shortages in Egypt have raised the possibility of someday operating the pipeline in the opposite direction, i.e., from Israel to Egypt.

Initial supply agreement[edit]

Egypt and Israel had originally agreed to supply through the pipeline 1.7 billion cubic metres (60 billion cubic feet) of natural gas per year for use by the Israel Electric Corporation.[15] This amount was later raised to 2.1 billion cubic metres (74 billion cubic feet) per year to be delivered through the year 2028. In addition, by late 2009, EMG signed contracts to supply through the pipeline an additional 2 billion cubic metres (71 billion cubic feet) per year to private electricity generators and various industrial concerns in Israel and negotiations with other potential buyers were ongoing. In 2010, the pipeline supplied approximately half of the natural gas consumed in Israel, with the other half being supplied from domestic resources. The total physical capacity of the pipeline is 9 billion cubic metres (320 billion cubic feet) per year and agreements between the two nations provide a framework for the purchase of up to 7.5 billion cubic metres (260 billion cubic feet) per year of Egyptian gas by Israeli entities, potentially making Israel one of Egypt's most important natural gas export markets. In 2010 some Egyptian activists appealed for a legal provision against governmental authorities to stop gas flow to Israel according to the obscure contract and very low price compared to the global rates, however the provision was denied by Mubarak regime for unknown reasons. In 2011, after the Egyptian revolution against Mubarak regime, many Egyptians called for stopping the gas project with Israel due to low prices.[citation needed] After a fifth bombing of the pipeline, flow had to be stopped for repair.[16][17]

2012 cancellation[edit]

Following the removal of Hosni Mubarak as head of state, and a perceived souring of ties between the two states, the standing agreement fell into disarray. According to Mohamed Shoeb, the head of the state-owned EGAS, the "decision we took was economic and not politically motivated. We canceled the gas agreement with Israel because they have failed to meet payment deadlines in recent months". Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also said that according to him the cancellation was not "something that is born out of political developments". However, Shaul Mofaz said that the cancellation was "a new low in the relations between the countries and a clear violation of the peace treaty".[18] Eventually, gas shortages forced Egypt to cancel most of its export agreements to all countries it previously sold gas to in order to meet internal demand.

Subsequent litigation[edit]

The Egyptian state entities supplying the pipeline attempted to declare force majeure in cancelling the gas agreement with EMG and the Israel Electric Corporation, while the latter contented the cancellation amounted to a unilateral breach of contract. The matter was referred to the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce in Geneva. After four years of proceedings the arbitration panel ruled against Egypt and ordered it to pay approximately US$2 billion in fines and damages to EMG and the IEC for unilaterally cancelling the contract. Egypt then appealed the panel’s decision to the Swiss courts, who also ruled against Egypt in 2017.[19][20]

Reverse flow agreement[edit]

Since the Egyptian revolution, Egypt has been experiencing significant domestic shortages of natural gas, causing disruptions and financial losses to various Egyptian businesses who rely on it, as well as curtailing exports of natural gas from Egypt through the Arab Gas Pipeline (even during periods when it has been available for operation) and via LNG export terminals located in Egypt. This situation raised the possibility of using the Arish-Ashkelon Pipeline to send natural gas in the reverse mode.

In March 2015, the consortium operating Israel's Tamar gas field announced it reached an agreement, subject to regulatory approvals in both countries, for the sale of at least 5 billion cubic metres (180 billion cubic feet) of natural gas over three years through the pipeline to Dolphinus Holdings – a firm representing non-governmental, industrial and commercial consumers in Egypt.[21][22] In November 2015 a preliminary agreement for the export of up to 4 billion cubic metres per annum (140 billion cubic feet per annum) of natural gas from Israel's Leviathan gas field to Dolphinus via the pipeline was also announced.[23][24] The cost of converting the pipeline to allow for flow in the reverse direction is estimated at US$10 to $20 million. However, to date Egypt refuses to allow the importation of Israeli natural gas while the $2 billion fine against Egypt for cancelling the gas agreement with Israel is still outstanding.

Future extensions[edit]

Syria–Turkey connection[edit]

In 2006 Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, and Romania reached an agreement to build the pipeline's extension through Syria to the Turkish border. From there, the pipeline would have been connected to the proposed Nabucco Pipeline for the delivery of gas to Europe. Turkey forecasted buying up to 4 billion cubic metres per annum (140 billion cubic feet per annum) of natural gas from the Arab Gas Pipeline.[25] In 2008 Turkey and Syria signed an agreement to construct a 63 kilometres (39 mi) pipeline between Aleppo and Kilisas a first segment of the Syria-Turkey connection of the Arab Gas Pipeline[26][27] and Stroytransgaz signed a US$71 million contract for the construction of this section.[28] However, this contract was annulled at the beginning of 2009 and re-tendered. This section was awarded to PLYNOSTAV Pardubice Holding, a Czech Contracting Company, who finished the project on May 2011. From Kilis, a 15-kilometre (9.3 mi) long pipeline with a diameter of 12 inches (300 mm) would connect the pipeline with the Turkish grid thus allowing the Turkish grid to be supplied via the Syrian grid even before completing the Homs–Aleppo segment.

Connection with Iraq[edit]

In September 2004, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon agreed to connect the Arab Gas Pipeline with Iraq's gas grid to allow Iraq to export gas to Europe.[8]

Terrorist attacks[edit]

The Egyptian pipeline carrying natural gas to Israel and Jordan, has been attacked 26 times since the start of the uprising in early 2011 until October 2014.[29]

On 5 February 2011, amidst the 2011 Egyptian protests an explosion was reported at the pipeline near the El Arish natural gas compressor station, which supplies pipelines to Israel and Jordan.[30][31][32][33][34] As a result, supplies to Israel and Jordan were halted.[35]

On 27 April 2011, an explosion at the pipeline near Al-Sabil village in the El-Arish region halted natural gas supplies to Israel and Jordan.[36] According to the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources unidentified saboteurs blew up a monitoring room of the pipeline.[37]

On 4 July 2011, an explosion at the pipeline near Nagah in the Sinai Peninsula halted natural gas supplies to Israel and Jordan.[38] An official said that armed men with machine guns forced guards at the station to leave before planting explosive charge there.[38]

An overnight explosion on 26–27 September 2011 caused extensive damage to the pipeline at a location 50 kilometres (31 mi) from Egypt's border with Israel. As the pipeline had not been supplying gas to Israel since an earlier explosion in July, it did not affect Israel's natural gas supply. According to Egyptian authorities, local Bedouin Islamists were behind the attack.[39]

On 14 October 2014, an explosion targeted the pipeline for the 26th time near Al-Qurayaa region south east of El-Arish city.[40]

On May 31, 2015, the pipeline was targeted by unknown attackers for the 29th time. [41]

It was targeted by unknown assailants again on January 7, 2016, and Wilayat Sinai claimed responsibility.

 

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