The Egyptian government has negotiated with Algerian petroleum company SONATRACH to increase its butane gas imports from the country to one million tonnes per year, state-run daily Al-Ahram reported on Thursday.
Hani Dhahi, head of the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation, said President Mohamed Morsi had demanded a rise in imports of cooking gas to provide a significant strategic reserve during the winter.
Dhahi added that Egypt had increased butane imports from Algeria  since last year’s uprising from 360,000 tonnes per year to 700,000 tonnes per year.
Egypt imports more than 50 per cent of its butane,  mainly from Algeria, Libya and Saudi Arabia. It is bottled locally then sold at subsidised prices to householders, hotels and restaurants.
Over the last year, Egypt has been suffering shortages of cooking gas and prices have risen considerably. President Morsi claimed he had solved 85 per cent of the cooking gas problem.
Morsi said security was the main problem and vowed to crack down on smuggling, assign extra observers to accompany fuel shipments, and use local co-operatives to monitor sales at gas stations.
He also promised to reduce profiteering by intermediaries  by arranging direct deliveries of butane cooking gas canisters from government depots to people’s homes.
In March, it was reported that local production of cooking gas risen to 2 million tonnes per year.