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Sunday, February 06, 2011

Gas explosion caused by leak, not sabotage

The natural gas pipeline explosion on which I reported last night, which has shut down natural gas supplies from Egypt to both Israel and Jordan, was apparently caused by a leak, and not by sabotage, according to a Sky News report cited by the Lebanese blog Ya Libnan.
Earlier, the regional governor in the Sinai, Abdel Wahab Mabrouk, had blamed the incident on “sabotage”.

The head of the Egyptian company for natural gas, Magdy Toufik, countered that earlier claim and said in a statement that the fire broke out as a result of a “small amount of gas leaking”.

Egyptian state TV had also blamed “terrorists” for the explosion, which saw flames towering into the sky near the Gaza Strip.

The blast came as a two-week-old popular uprising has engulfed Cairo and Alexandria.


The leak and explosion occurred early Saturday at a gas terminal in the northern Sinai town of el-Arish, several hundred yards away from the local airport.

Mr Mabrouk told Egypt’s Nile News TV that the fire was brought under control by mid-morning, after valves allowing the flow of gas from the terminal into pipelines were shut off.

The pipeline was carrying gas to Jordan but Israel temporarily shut down its service, officials said, as “a precaution”.

Jordan said gas supplies from Egypt were expected to remain halted for a week until the pipeline was repaired.

A Jordanian energy source said the kingdom had switched power generating stations to burning fuel oil and diesel as a precaution, after the cutoff of the Egyptian supply.

The blaze shooting vertically in the air was visible from rooftops of homes next to the Gaza-Egypt border, about 44 miles away.

The pipelines transport gas from Egypt’s Port Said on the Mediterranean Sea to Israel and Jordan and supplies about 25% of the gas used to generate Israel’s electrical power.


Al-Jazeera quoted sources at the Egyptian energy ministry as saying that gas import to Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Israel would stop for 2 weeks following the blast at the gas pipeline. Lebanon has been receiving the gas supplies via Syria.

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At 10:34 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl - incredible, isn't, that Prime Minister Netanyahu says Israel's offshore oil fields won't be available for ten years!

Whatever happened to the country that prided itself on getting major projects done in record time?

What could go wrong indeed


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