Last updated: 27 September, 2011

Fire at Egypt gas pipeline under control

Egyptian fire fighters have managed to gain control over a blaze at the site of a gas pipeline to Israel which was attacked overnight, the official MENA news agency said on Tuesday.

At least three gunmen in a van opened fire on a gas installation before an explosion hit the pipeline near the town of Al-Arish in the north of the Sinai peninsula, witnesses said.

Three people were injured.

The attack on the pipeline, which carries gas through the Sinai and on to Jordan and Israel, was the sixth since a popular uprising toppled Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak in February.

It interrupted gas supplies to Jordan, which buys 95 percent of its energy needs and imports about 240 million cubic feet (6.8 million cubic metres) of Egyptian gas a day, or 80 percent of its electricity requirements.

“We received a phone call from Egyptian authorities early Tuesday that the gas supply has been stopped following the attack,” energy minister Khaled Tukan told AFP.

Israel’s infrastructure ministry said there had been no gas flowing through the pipeline since the last attack on July 12.

“We haven’t been getting any gas from Egypt since July,” ministry spokeswoman Maya Etzioni told AFP.

“We are now awaiting an official report from Egypt on the situation,” she said without elaborating.

Egypt supplies 43 percent of Israel’s natural gas and 40 percent of Israel’s electricity comes from this source.

The latest blast comes against a background of rising tension between Egypt and Israel.

The new regime in Cairo is in the process of reviewing all its gas contracts with Israel signed under Mubarak.