Jordan’s Egyptian gas supplies have dropped to one-third of their normal levels, officials say, prompting fresh concern over the security of the country’s primary energy source.
According to a Ministry of Energy source, natural gas supplies from Egypt declined to some 80 million cubic feet (mcf) per day since Saturday, one-third of the 240mcf rate outlined in the gas agreement between Amman and Cairo.
Although Egypt has refused to disclose the reasons behind the drop, officials link the shortage with the ongoing instability and riots that have gripped the country since late Friday.
“There is a feeling that whenever anything goes wrong in Egypt, the first thing that goes is Jordan’s gas supplies,” said the source, who was not authorised to speak to the press.
Egyptian officials have not indicated when gas supplies will resume in full, according to the source, but the government is expected to demand compensation for the decreased quantities.
The drop comes one month after Egypt pledged to resume pumping in full after nearly two years of disruptions.
A series of acts of sabotage targeting the Arab Gas Pipeline following the ouster of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011 brought pumping to a standstill, while Cairo suspended supplies last October in order to cover a spike in domestic energy demand.
Once Jordan’s primary energy source, Egyptian gas accounted for 80 per cent of the Kingdom’s electricity generation needs in 2009, a figure that dropped to some 18 per cent in 2012.
The drop in Egyptian gas supplies has forced Jordan onto costlier heavy oil imports, which has ballooned the national energy bill to some JD4.4 billion and pushed the cost of electricity subsidies to over JD1 billion.
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