For Egypt, Gas Deal With Israel Was Bad Business [View all]
CAIRO, Egypt — While much of the world sees Egypt’s decision to cancel a natural gas contract with Israel as a threat to peace, Egyptians say it just makes good business sense.
Last week, Egypt’s government unilaterally cancelled the 7-year-old natural gas deal, citing the failure of the Egyptian-Israeli consortium East Mediterranean Gas Co (EMG) to make regular payments.
Not so, says EMG, which told Reuters on Wednesday that the gas supply was interrupted because Egypt failed to protect the feeder pipeline in the Sinai Peninsula from militant attacks.
But politics and peace treaties aside, experts here say the deal — clinched at below-market prices under the notoriously crooked regime of former President Hosni Mubarak — makes little sense for Egypt, a nation scrambling to boost its tumbling foreign currency reserves. Egypt is also struggling with a ballooning demand for energy that will soon outstrip supply.