Egypt resumes pumping natural gas in North Sinai

Egypt resumed pumping natural gas through local and international pipelines in North Sinai experimentally on Wednesday, after repairing damage caused by a series of attacks on the pipelines.

State-run Middle East News Agency reported the news, but it did not say if the gas would be supplied to Israel and Jordan.

The agency also quoted an official with the GASCO company, the pipelines’ operator, as saying that gas has been pumped to 1,000 housing units in Arish, with all the residences in the area set to receive it within three days.

Israeli energy industry sources on Wednesday confirmed that Egyptian natural gas supplies to consumers in Israel are coming in but at levels far below contractual obligations.

The amount of gas supplied is expected to increase in the next few days, said the sources, who were quoted in Platts, the leading global provider of energy information.

On 18 December masked attackers blew up the pipeline for the tenth time since beginning of 2011. The previous attack on the pipeline occurred on 28 November.

In December, a group calling itself Ansar al-Jihad said it was responsible for the latest attack. In an internet message, the group said it was loyal to the teachings of "the martyr Imam Osama bin Laden."

Egypt's 20-year gas deal with Israel, signed during the Mubarak era, is unpopular with many Egyptians.

Egyptian natural gas supplies to both Israel and Jordan have dropped sharply due to recurrent interruptions caused by the explosions.

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