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Al-Ahram: Egypt to draft new Israel gas deal

Oct. 4, 2011 10:59 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 5, 2011 12:58 P.M.)
CAIRO (Reuters) -- Egypt will soon finish drafting a new contract for gas exports to its neighbor Israel that includes a big increase in prices, a newspaper cited the petroleum minister as saying on Tuesday.

Gas supplies to Israel have been disrupted by a series of attacks on the pipeline in the Sinai border region by assailants believed to oppose the sale of gas to Israel.

The attacks became more frequent and supplies were halted after the overthrow of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak in February.

Egypt's army-backed government, under popular pressure to toughen its stance towards Israel, has sought to renegotiate the terms of the gas deal, complaining that the previous agreement signed under Mubarak fixed prices below market rates.

"The final draft related to amending the prices for exporting natural gas to Israel will be completed soon. It will see a big increase in the price," newspaper Al-Ahram reported, citing Petroleum Minister Abdullah Ghorab.

He said gas supplies to Israel were still suspended after the latest attack on the pipeline in Sinai in late September, Al-Ahram reported.

Egypt is also seeking to renegotiate prices of gas exports to Jordan, which have also been disrupted by the attacks.

Gunmen opened fire on a gas installation in the Sinai last week, before an explosion hit a pipeline.

It was the sixth such attack on the pipeline since Egypt's former President Hosni Mubarak was toppled in February. The pipeline carries gas through the Sinai and on to Jordan and Israel.

Egypt supplies 43 percent of Israel's natural gas and 40 percent of Israel's electricity comes from this source.
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