By Toyin Akinosho
Egypt’s imports of Israeli gas fell almost 20% after Israel suspended production at the Chevron operated Tamar field, owing to the war with Gaza.
And that has affected the consumption in Africa’s largest domestic gas market.
Imports of piped Israeli gas slumped to 650 Million standard cubic feet per day (650MMscf/d) from 800MMscf/d, after the Israeli energy ministry instructed Chevron to halt production, due to the security situation. The Leviathan, Israel’s other major gas field, remains online.
Egypt had relied on Israel to keep natural gas consumption as high as 6.8Billion scf/d, as the former’s own production declined for the ninth consecutive month.
Egypt’s gas output reached an all-time high of 7.06Bscf/d in September 2021, but the numbers have continuously headed south, as the ENI operated Zohr, the country’s flagship gas field, battles unrelenting water infiltration problems.
Egypt used part of Israeli imports to satiate local demand while it exports the rest as LNG to earn foreign exchange.
Israel’s retaliatory launch of the siege of Gaza, after a massive attack from that coastal city, was the reason to cut supplies to Egypt from Tamar field.
“Israel has been a key energy partner during a difficult summer”, reports the Egyptian business website, enterprise.com. ”Egypt has been importing increased volumes of Israeli gas this year, helping to offset the ongoing electricity crisis that has triggered nationwide rolling blackouts for over two months”.
“This could keep our LNG terminals offline”, enterprise.com says in an editorial. “Uncertainty about the supply of Israeli gas could potentially delay the Oil Ministry’s plans to resume gas exports in October 2023”.