Jordanian Prime Minister Awn al-Khasawneh said on Tuesday he plans to visit Iraq very soon to seek alternatives for Egyptian natural gas supplies, which have halted after several pipeline explosions.
Khasawneh told Jordan's independent Al-Ghad newspaper in an interview that Iraqi supplies are the only available alternative for Egyptian gas.
Jordan currently imports nearly 10,000 barrels of Iraqi oil on a daily basis, fulfilling 10 percent of its needs, while the other 90 percent is imported from Saudi Arabia. But the kingdom hopes to increase its imports to 30,000 barrels to make up for the halted Egyptian supplies.
Egyptian natural gas supplies to Jordan have halted since 5 February after a pipeline transferring gas to both Israel and Jordan was bombed for the 12th time since the breakout of Egypt’s January 2011 revolution against Hosni Mubarak’s regime.
The prime minister told Al-Ghad that Jordan needs to ration its gas consumption given the lack of alternatives available. He noted that the government is trying to boost its storage capacity and create space in its market for more than one primary supplier.
On 30 January, Khasawneh said the recurrent interruptions from Egypt have cost his government’s treasury nearly US$2 billion.
Jordan had relied on Egyptian gas to fulfill 80 percent of its electricity needs (6.8 million cubic meters a day), but now is forced to use diesel and fuel oil to meet power demands.
In November, Egypt and Jordan agreed to raise the prices of Egyptian supplies to Jordan so as to match European rates.
Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm