Egypt to Use Qatari LNG Cargo Gifts to Pay Foreign Partners

Egypt will use five Qatari liquefied natural gas cargoes it receives as gifts to pay its foreign partners under a previously announced gas-swap deal, an Egyptian Oil Ministry official said.

Under the agreement, international oil companies in Egypt started supplying natural gas in mid-May in return for Qatari LNG shipments to be exported to the companies’ clients, Tamer Heikel said today by telephone from Cairo.

Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous nation, is struggling to meet rocketing household and industrial demand for energy amid a slowdown in oil and gas exploration and production following an uprising in 2011. It is also facing financing difficulties, with foreign-exchange reserves down by more than half from December 2010 levels.

Egyptian General Petroleum Corp. Chairman Tarek Elbarkatawy said on June 10 that Qatar planned to donate the cargoes from the end of July until mid-September. Each cargo would be 3.2 billion cubic feet and valued at $30 million to $40 million, depending on the price index, he said.

“The gift cargoes are just to help us save time until the conclusion of bank procedures for the rest of the cargoes” in the 18-cargo swap deal, Heikel said today.

Elbarkatawy had said in a May 8 interview that the gas-swap deal involves 18 to 24 cargoes of Qatari LNG that would be provided in lieu of gas supplied by BG Group Plc and Petroliam Nasional Bhd to the Egyptian government.

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